Posted by News Express | 17 September 2015 | 2,639 times
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has demanded $28 million compensation for 14 victims of a pipeline explosion at Agip’s oil field in Bayelsa State.
A pipeline explosion on July 9, 2015 killed 14 people at Agip’s oil field at Azuzuama community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area in Bayelsa State.
It would be recalled that a regulatory official of Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and 12 others were amongst the victims that died in the blast.
ERA/FoEN, an environmental advocacy group wants Agip to pay the sum of US$2 million compensation to each of the bereaved families of the 14 persons that died in the blast.
ERA/FoEN also demanded the revocation of the operating license of Agip since there was a consistence in trends of explosions and deaths at its fields in Nigeria's Niger Delta region.
Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Godwin Uyi Ojo, made the demands while presenting the group’s report on the incident titled, “Agip’s Azuzuama Tragedy” to newsmen in Yenagoa on Wednesday.
“While a price cannot be placed on the loss of human lives, we urge the payment of the sum of US$2 million each to the families of the bereaved since their bread winners have been taken away from them abruptly.”
He stated that this will serve as a deterrent to Agip and other oil companies on the need to put lives first before profit.
He described the Azuzuama tragedy as “a case of ecocide” and decried what he termed Agip’s impunity and flagrant disregard for environmental regulations.
Ojo regretted that the company had not responded to the tragic incident since it occurred.
He urged the federal government to set up a panel to investigate and identify the cause of the fire and explosion.
“Agip should be brought to book following the cases of negligence, equipment failure and substandard pipeline clamping procedures.
“State and Federal governments should ensure that Agip complies with international standards in oil pipeline clamping and procedures which must guarantee the safety of workers, regulators and the communities.
“Government and oil companies particularly Agip must also ensure only competent firms are engaged as contractors to carry out clamping jobs that require high levels of professionalism.”
In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Inuro Wills, lamented the violation operational regulations and neglect lf victims of pipeline explosion by Agip.
Wills said that the government of Bayelsa State had assembled a legal team to offer legal services to the families of the victims of the incident following the insensitivity of Agip.
He assured that the government would ensure that the recently released guidelines on oil spill management procedure was complied with by al oil firms operating in Bayelsa State.
Officials of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), representatives of the host community and Bayelsa Ministry of Environment were investigating the cause of a recent oil spill in the area when the explosion occurred.
According to a statement issued by an Eni Spokesman Mr. Filipo Cotalini, the parent company of NAOC, the cause of the explosion is being investigated.
•Photo shows Dr Godwin Ojo, (L) Executive Director era/fOen, going through a document with Mr. Karibi Macdonald, representative of victims of the pipeline explosion at Agip’s oil field during yesterday’s news conference.
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