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May 20, 2024
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Environmental Pollution: 35 Oil Firms Under Scrutiny

The Joint Committee of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, summoned 35 oil companies, for questioning over environmental degradation caused by the activities of oil companies across oil-producing communities in Nigeria.

The oil firms and the NNPCL boss are to appear before the committee on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

The summons was handed down by the Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Pondi Gbabojor, at an investigative hearing in Abuja on the activities of oil companies.

The committee also summoned relevant government agencies and heads of oil companies.

The Committees on Environment, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Climate Change make up the joint committee.

The committee chairman threatened sanctions should invited persons fail to appear before the committee.

Gbabojor said, “We will write another letter to everybody. They should turn up to answer questions on issues pertaining to the degradation of the environment due to the activities of oil companies.

“They have to be here on May 8. If anybody fails to show up, then, we would decide as a committee on what to do. I want to believe that there was enough time – two letters were sent. There was ample time for them to see the letters and duly honour them. But to put on a human face, we would still give another time to do so.”

The Federal Government agencies invited for questioning are the Nigeria Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency and the National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency.

At the commencement of the investigation on Wednesday, only four out of the 35 oil companies and agencies invited for the probe attended.

The Committee members however noted that the four companies that turned up for the investigation were without the relevant documents required to carry out their assignment.

Earlier, the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, in his opening address, said it was important to protect the environment from harm.

Represented by the Deputy Minority Whip, George Ozodinobi, the Speaker said, “I fully recognise the immense responsibility which befalls us as public servants to protect and safeguard our environment and meet the challenges posed by the ravages of environmental damages, and the need to balance economic prosperity and social responsibility to ultimately achieve equitable development.

“As representatives of the people, we must ensure that the voices of those most affected by environmental damage are heard and respected. We have to listen to the fears that are faced by frontline communities, indigenous people, and marginalised groups who usually bear the brunt of environmental injustice.

“It is therefore, for this reason, that the House mandated the Committees on Environment, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream), and Climate Change, to investigate the environmental damage in oil-producing communities caused by non-compliance to extant laws by oil producing companies.”

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