THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency

Blames oil spills on old pipelines

By Obas Esiedesa

THE Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives, NEITI, yesterday, moved to hold companies operating in the petroleum and mining sectors accountable for spills and other harmful effects, with the unveiling of a framework for environmental reporting in the extractive industry in Nigeria.

In the framework which was unveiled by the Minister Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, NEITI held that actions of oil multinational corporations and their impact on the environment in the oil producing areas have been damaging to the host community, impacting the people’s economic basis and source of sustenance.

The agency noted that “the majority of oil spills are caused by the rupturing of extremely old pipelines, some of which have not been updated in over 40 years and are still being used to transport highly pressured crude oil on a regular basis”.

It observed that while “environmental rules exist to limit the consequences of resource extraction, they are poorly implemented and when they are, the rules are not enforced fully enough to hold the extractive companies accountable”.

Speaking at the event in Abuja, Mrs. Ahmed urged President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to strengthen NEITI, and other anti-corruption agencies to enable them fulfill their mandates.

She pointed out that “through its regular oil, gas and mining audits, publications of timely policy papers, NEITI is well-positioned to guide and shape government policies in energy and contribute to robust economic and public finance management in Nigeria”.

The Minister, who also launched a framework for gender reporting in the extractive industries in Nigeria, commended NEITI for leading the advocacy for reforms of the extractive sectors in the country.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NEITI,  Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji explained that NEITI believes that while disclosure of environmental impacts of extractive activities is “important to impacted communities and stakeholders to facilitate accountability, it is also important to businesses for the purpose of good corporate governance, reputation and social licence”.

Dr. Orji disclosed that environmental information in the NEITI reports include environmental expenditure,  social expenditure,  companies environmental audit certification,  list of abandoned mine sites, environmental support to states and planned legal and regulatory reforms”.

On his part, the NEITI Board Chairman,  Bar Olusegun Adekunle explained that development of the frameworks “is not just to fulfill the requirements of the global EITI, but also to help in resolving the lingering environmental problems that are associated with oil, gas and mining extraction in the host communities in Nigeria”.

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