Nigeria Probes 35 Oil Companies Over Environmental Damage in Niger Delta

Nigerian lawmakers summon oil executives to probe environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, threatening sanctions for non-compliance.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigerian Regulator Probes 35 Oil Companies Over Environmental Damage in Niger Delta

Nigeria Probes 35 Oil Companies Over Environmental Damage in Niger Delta

The Nigerian National Assembly's House Committees on Environment, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream), and Climate Change have summoned the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, and the chief executives of 35 oil companies to appear before them on May 8, 2024 for a probe into the environmental degradation caused by the activities of oil companies in oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

The oil companies summoned include Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Total Energies, Oando Oil Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, and Seplat Energy. Representatives from government agencies such as the Nigeria Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, the National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA), and the National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency were also summoned to appear.

During the initial investigative hearing, only four out of the 35 invited companies and agencies showed up. The committee members complained that the relevant documents were submitted just the previous day, not giving them enough time to study the materials for the probe. The committee chairman, Pondi Julius Gbabojor, threatened to apply appropriate sanctions if the invited parties fail to appear on the scheduled date of May 8.

Why this matters: The environmental damage caused by oil exploration and production activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been a longstanding issue, affecting the livelihoods and health of local communities. This probe by the Nigerian National Assembly aims to hold oil companies accountable and ensure compliance with environmental regulations to protect the rights of those most impacted by the degradation.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, emphasized the need for all operators to prioritize the safety of the environment and ensure that the voices of those most affected by environmental damage are heard and respected. "It is important that we all prioritize the safety of our environment and ensure that the voices of those most affected by environmental damage are heard and respected," Tajudeen said, as represented by the Deputy Minority Whip at the hearing. The investigative hearing aims to address the environmental damage in oil-producing communities caused by non-compliance with existing laws by oil-producing companies operating in the Niger Delta region.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigerian lawmakers summon NNPCL CEO, 35 oil firms over environmental damage
  • Probe aims to hold companies accountable for degradation in Niger Delta region
  • Only 4 of 35 invited parties attended initial hearing, documents submitted late
  • Committee threatens sanctions if parties fail to appear on May 8 hearing
  • Speaker emphasizes need to prioritize environment, respect affected communities