Abuja – The National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills, (NACGOND), an NGO, has called for an amendment to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act.
The National Coordinator of the NGO in the Niger Delta, Rev. Father Edward Obi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the amendment of the Act would empower NOSDRA to effectively regulate the activities of the oil companies operating in the country.
“Now I know that this Federal Government has opened a space for dialogue and they are in a mood to dialogue with well meaning citizens and we consider ourselves responsible citizens.
“Members of this community who want a discussion of the matter, we will like to bring something back to this young men and women.
“And say to them, if you take the government seriously in what they are saying, now if you hold your activities in this matter.
“These are the benefit that you are going to get; now one of the major benefits that I expect them to get is that they will get a clean environment.
“That means that the NOSDRA Act must be amended to empower NODRA sufficiently to police the activities of the oil companies that is how we get a good environment.
“So that first of all when there is a good environment then they can go back fishing, they can go back farming, they can do many other things again that they use to do before.
“At least some of those people who are stranded can be absorbed.
“Secondly there must be conceded effort by government at all levels to see that youths all over Nigeria needs to be brought together and given something meaningful to do.
Obi urged the Federal Government to make the welfare of the people in oil producing communities a major priority.
NACGOND is a partnership of twenty-five member civil society groups that seeks to address the lingering environmental degradation associated with oil spill, gas flaring, and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta.
The coalition was formally launched on June 16, 2011 after a multi-stakeholder meeting, facilitated by Chatham House, London.
The meeting involved Niger Delta nationality groups, civil society actors, state actors, and the oil industry.
It is also a vehicle that civil society groups can use to proactively suggest tangible solutions to the key issues surrounding oil spills and gas flaring.