President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has called on the federal government through its relevant agencies to penalise indigenous oil companies responsible for the devastation of host communities where they operate.
Lawan made the call following a motion on “the extremely urgent need to stop the continuous crude oil and gas blow out spill at Santa Barbara well 1, OML 29 operated by AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited in Opu Nembe, Bayelsa State.”
A statement signed by the Special Assistant(Press) to the Senate President, Ezrel Tabiowo, said the motion was sponsored by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East).
The Senate President stated that the National Assembly would insist on companies carrying out their corporate-social responsibilities to host communities under the law.
He explained that doing so would also involve penalising any company that fails to adhere to operational standards set out by the federal government.
“I feel very sad, that an indigenous oil company for that matter, would be involved in this kind of incident and yet not able to show any capacity.
“As a country, we want to promote our local content – indigenous oil companies – to participate in this industry.
“But we are going to insist, whether it is an indigenous owned company any or an international one, that the companies must be responsible to the communities and to us as a nation.
“This is devastation of lives and ecosystems in that part of the country, and I believe that this particular case should be made to be an example of what government and its agencies can do, not only to force the alleged culprit to remedy the environment but also to penalize the oil company for devastating the lives of the people of that area (Nembe)”, Lawan said.