While speaking at the weekly ministerial press briefing organized by the media team on Thursday, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, hinted that the Federal Government is working on stiffer penalties for organizations contributing to environmental degradation in the country, especially the Niger Delta.
According to the Minister, discussions are ongoing between the ministry and other relevant government agencies to achieve this. She added that a bill that will modify the law establishing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) is being worked on. The bill is expected to build the capacity of the agency and give it “the needed teeth to bite.”
She said, “We need to put stiffer penalties, build the capacity of NOSDRA, which is the regulatory agency in the oil sector, to be able to have the teeth to bite. Without enhancing their capacity and reaffirming the legal framework, getting it stronger, they can’t do much. These are areas we’re looking into. It has to stop.”
These comments were made in light of the Santa Barbara oil spill, which she said is under control, and the more recent OML-29 oil spill in Nembe, Bayelsa State.