HARD TALK: Nigeria Needs To Enact A Law To Provide For Gathering Centres For Intercepted Illegal Petroleum Product By Joint Task Force

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Government can’t be spending money to clean oil spill in some areas while other arm of government continue to spill same oil in other areas.

Over the years we have been hearing JTF (security operatives) intercepted stolen crude oil from illegal bunkers but till date there is no law established to control their method of either storing or to give back recovered product to the facilities owner after conducting test to establish or verify facility of origin.

There is no law that neither gives ownership to government thereby creating government storage centre for such purposes nor does government aid the joint task force with facilities for identification of Operators that owns the product for possible return.

A situation whereby Intercepted illegal Petroleum products are burnt or spill is of great economic loss to the country and must be discouraged.

It is more harmful to the People and the environment when security operative set illegal intercepted product on fire or spill them in the environment. While carrying out their security duties it’s also important to protect the environment and the health of the inhabitants must be considered. They can’t be reporting cases of intercepted illegal product without making same available for all to see.

The absence of the law means the commander of the JTF should act based on his discretion or at best “as the spirit leads”.

However the consequences of the said absence of law and the JTF “action” method of disposing off the intercepted or recovered illegal petroleum products is of negative impact on the people and the environment.

If a product is intercepted the options opened to JTF security operatives is by spilling the product or burning since there is no law/guiding what should be done next. Whichever method they choose is of negative impact to the people and the environment.

Spilling intercepted illegal crude oil or “Kpo Fire” whether on land or water have great negative impact on humans, aquatic live and vegetation as a result of pollution of surface and underground water.

As a country looking up to agriculture as alternative measure of generating income and self sustainability, it’s important to check all possible root cause of low agricultural produce and take corrective actions. This makes enacting law to check the Security Operatives and the method of disposing the intercepted product mandatory.

This law should as a minimum provide JTF operatives with requisite facilities or retainership with nearest DPR accredited laboratory for partnership to carryout accurate sample analysis and return recovered product to the right owner.

Burning of intercepted illegal crude oil or “Kpo Fire” is detrimental to the people and the environment as a result of air pollution. The average life expectancy of Nigerians leaving in Niger Delta is getting shorter by the day as a result of Oil exploration activities. We must do everything humanly possible to discourage/ control further reduction of human life expectancy within the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.

The negative effect of oil exploration activities on the inhabitants of the Niger Delta is unquantifiable.

The theory of NON DESTRUCTIVE forbid destroying one to repair the other thus the method deployed by security operatives on product disposal is negative and not traceable to any global standard or best practices therefore the only lasting solution is establishing a law to ensure intercepted product gathering centres are established for such purpose since both former and later method of product disposal disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

Otete Darlington MNES, Lead Auditor ISO 14001:2015, writes in from Warri, Delta state

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