The federal government says it would develop an effective oiled wildlife contingency plan (OWCP) to protect the country’s wildlife in the event of oil spills.
Ibrahim Yusuf, permanent secretary, ministry of Environment, spoke at the workshop organised by the national oil spill detection and response agency (NOSDRA) and global initiative for West Central and Southern Africa (GI-WACAF).
Yusuf, who was represented by Charles Ikea, the ministry’s director of pollution, control, and environmental health, said the initiative aims to preserve the ecosystem and wildlife from oil contamination.
The permanent secretary said there have been several oil spill incidents with devastating impacts on the environment, adding that prevention is the most effective way to mitigate this.
“These events serve as stark reminders of the vulnerability of our natural habitats and the fragile lives that inhabit them,” he said.
“Wildlife from seabirds, marine mammals, fish, and reptiles face dire consequences when oil contaminates their habitats. It is our responsibility to prepare for such incidents and act promptly to mitigate their impacts.
“By implementing stringent regulations, monitoring systems, ensuring high integrity of oil facilities, and risk assessment strategies, we can significantly reduce the likelihood of oil spills.
“This will ensure a rapid and effective response to oiled wildlife incidents, maximising our ability to rescue, treat and rehabilitate affected animals.”
Idris Musa, NOSDRA director general, said the contingency plan would serve as a blueprint for immediate and effective response in the event of oil spill incidents.
“It will ensure that our actions are swift, coordinated, and informed by the best available knowledge and expertise,” he said.
“It is our responsibility as stewards of our common heritage, and environment, to ensure that we have effective plans in place to mitigate these risks and protect our wildlife.”
Anais Guillou, Gl-WACAP project manager, said the project aims to improve the capacity of partner countries to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.
“We draw expertise from government, industry, and organisations working in specialised fields to communicate good practice in all aspects of spill preparedness and response,” she added.