The House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Niger Delta and Joint Task Military Force, JTF, has visited Bayelsa State to investigate the cause of last year’s Agip pipeline explosion at Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in which 14 lives were lost.
The committee led by Nasiru Sule Garo, which paid a courtesy visit on the state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (retd) before proceeding to look into the scene of the blast in the deep mangrove swamp of Azuzuama is also mandated to look at the integrity of Agip facilities, following claims of neglect by some stakeholders.
Other members of the committee, saddled with the task of overseeing the function of the JTF with regard to curbing the activities of illegal refinery operators in the Niger Delta include Douye Diri, Adekunle Akinlade, Abubakar Amere, Shuaibu Abdulrahman, Ntufam Mbora, Solomon Manre, Nkiruka Onyejiocha and Miss Ifeoma Abara.
Garo, who briefed the state Deputy Governor on their mission to the state promised to do justice to the contentious issues raised in the wake of the explosion.
The committee is to among other things, determine whether the explosion was a case of sabotage or equipment failure.
He said that the committee was set up by the Speaker of the House following the motion moved by the member representing Yenagoa federal constituency, Douye Diri.
The House, he said was deeply concerned about the event as well as the spate of despoliation taking place in the Niger Delta and its attendant consequences on the livelihood of the locals.
He assured that the House would organise a public hearing to enable stakeholders come up with suggestions on how best to avert a repeat of such an explosion.
“The House also mandated this committee to look into the integrity of Agip facilities because there are lots of allegations that some of their facilities are obsolete and that they are not taking care of them,” he said.
He assured the government of the readiness of the committee to carry out its assignment diligently and see to the JTF handling of seized crude oil and equipment from illegal refinery operators due to the delicate nature of the environment.
Receiving the team, John-Jonah thanked the Speaker for setting up the committee, and called for more federal assistance for effective policing of the delta due to its peculiar terrain.