The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency has entered into partnership with the Nigerian Army to tackle the menace of oil spill and environmental degradation caused by the activities of multinational oil companies across the country.
According to the agency, the partnership became critical as a result of the rising cases of oil pollution and its deadly impact on the environment and human lives.
The Chairman, NOSDRA, Maj. Lancelot Anyanya (retd), described the oil spill in Nigeria as a war which had no foe or friend.
He spoke at the headquarters of the Nigerian Army during a courtesy call on the Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said, “We want to draw your attention to a different kind of war that is raging across the nuke and crannies of our country. This war has no foe or friend and it is a war on the environment.
“People live in great danger on account of the damage to the ecology and environment that oil exploration and exploitation and related activities impose on us. People are dying in instalments as a result of this without knowing it.”
Anyanya said the agency would come with a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the specific relation between NOSDRA and the Nigerian Army in particular and the defence organisations in general.
The Director-General, NOSDRA, Mr. Peter Idabor, stated that oil pollution had gone beyond the Niger Delta.
He said, “It has become more critical for us to partner with the Nigerian Army, especially when it has to do with issues relating to oil spill in this country. Oil pollution has gone beyond the Niger Delta. Most of the underground tanks that people use today to store petroleum products are leaking deep into the water table. And of course the consequences cannot be far fetched.”
He explained that by feeding on plants and animals, human beings were directly or indirectly affected by the degradation and pollution of the environment.
In his response, Minimah assured the NOSDRA team that the Nigerian Army would partner the agency to tackle oil spill.
The army chief said, “I know the effects of oil spillage and the pollution it causes on the environment which include the destruction of the cultural and occupational habits of people. But I want to reassure you that the Nigerian Army will do as much as possible to assist and project the responsibilities of the board.
“The assets of the Nigerian Army are available as at when needed. On the MoU, I’m certain that whenever we receive it, we will study it and we will certainly provide the requisite assistance that will be needed and will help you perform your duties.”
By Okechukwu Nnodim