The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on Wednesday said a total of 1,086 oil spills were recorded in Bayelsa from 2015 to February 2022.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General, NOSDRA, made this known when delegations from Connected Development (CODE) and OXFAM paid an advocacy visit to his office in Abuja.
The visit was to discuss some challenges witnessed in oil-bearing communities.
Musa said that out of the 1, 086 oil spill incidents recorded in Bayelsa, 917 were as a result of sabotage in the form of third party breakage of pipelines with hacksaw or outright blowing up of the pipelines.
He said that communities in the area must protect oil installations and tackle such vandals, as their silence was causing harm to their environment.
“You see we cannot keep running away, I gave you the statistics now that we recored 1, 086 oil spill in Bayelsa from 2015 to February 2022, that is 84.4 per cent; that means we need to do something .
“It is not about experts, if I came from a community for instance, and then an expert will come and aid me to break a pipeline in my community that will spill oil into my water, will I then drink it and do other domestic chores?
“We need to speak to these issues, we have done that consistently with evidence, what we call Disaster Risk Reduction programme for communities, telling them why they do not need to vandalise oil facilities.
“So CSOs also have to wake up and interface with these communities, let everybody check his own part and do the right thing, that is what I will advocate, the blame is not just on oil companies.
“If everybody in the statistics I gave, which is 84.4 per cent, stop that act, then we will have zero spill and our environment will be good,” the DG said.
Musa said that Nigeria loses billions of Naira due to the oil spillage experienced on a daily bases.
He added that NOSDRA has been advocating against it and working to put an end to the sabotage and destruction of oil facilities.
“This is because when this spill happens, three things happen.
“As a nation, we lose revenue, individuals lose livelihood because the oil will impact on areas where they either fish or farm and then it is also a loss to the oil companies and the environment,” he added.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer CODE, said that the organisation through its Follow the Money initiative, track the utilisation of public funds to ensure its judicious utilisation in the interest of communities.
Lawal said that CODE in collaboration with Oxfam have been working in the Niger Delta region through its Conflict and Fragility project.
He added that they were working on a new project and sought for collaboration with NOSDRA.
Lawal said the CODE partnership with OXFAM and the advocacy visit to NOSDRA was also to domesticate the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in Nigeria at federal and state levels.
Mr Henry Ushie, Project Coordinator, Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction, said that OXFAM Nigeria works to reduce poverty, which was caused by inequality.
“It is not that there are no resources, but those resources do not go round, because a few people have hijacked most of the resources to themselves.
“So we try to reduce poverty by also ending inequality in all its forms, whether social, political or gender inequality, we just make effort to end those forms of inequalities.
“Specifically in Nigeria, we work across three key areas – gender justice, economic livelihoods and also on accountable governance.
“Within this sphere of work, is our work on just economy, where we look at those areas that have to do with revenue sharing.
“For example, issues around natural resources within the extractive industries and within that space, we work with stakeholders to look at those anomalies, the mismanagement that happen, particularly at community level.”
Ushie said that the advocacy visit was to engage with NOSDRA on how to tackle challenges in extractive communities and how the communities can benefit more from the resources.
He added that the advocacy was to also get update on how the agency leveraged on the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, and its plan to participate and maximise the upcoming COP27 for the benefit of the nation.