Committee Summons Kyari, Oil Firms, Agencies Over Environmental Degradation

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives has asked the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari to appear before it on May 8, 2024 over alleged environmental degradation caused by the activities of oil companies in oil-producing communities in the country.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Environment,  Julius Pondi,  made the remarks  at an investigative hearing on the need to investigate the services and ‘unprecedented’ environmental damage within the communities yesterday.

The House Committees which includes Environment, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Climate Change besides the NNPC, further summoned Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Total Energies, Oando Oil Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Seplat Energy among others.

Government agencies also summoned included the Nigeria Upstream  Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA) as well as the National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA)

Pondi, during his remark said the matter to be addressed was critical and threatened appropriate sanctions if those invited failed to turn up.

When the probe commenced on Wednesday, only four out of 35 oil companies and agencies invited for the probe showed up.

NESREA however sent an excuse through a representative, but the rest did not give any reason for their absence.

The committee members however complained that even the four that turned up submitted the relevant documents just the previous day, not giving the lawmakers enough time to study it for the probe.

Pondi further said: “We will do another letter to everybody. They should turn up to answer questions on issues pertaining to degradation of the environment due to the activities of oil companies. They have to be here on the 8th of May. If anybody fails to show up on, then we would not decide as a committee on what to do.

“ I want to believe that there was enough time, two letters were sent, there was ample time for them to see the letters and duly honour them. But for putting on a human face, we would still give another time to do so”

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, in his opening remarks said it was important that to protect the environment.

Represented by the Deputy Minority Whip, George Ozodinobi, he said: “I fully recognise the immense responsibility which befalls us as public servants to protect and safeguard our environment and meet the challenges posed by the ravages of environmental damages, and the need to balance economic prosperity and social responsibility to ultimately achieve equitable development.

“Also as representatives of the people, we must ensure that the voices of those most affected by environmental damage are heard and respected. We have to listen to the fears that are faced by frontline communities, indigenous people, and marginalised groups who usually bear the brunt of environmental injustice.

“It is therefore, for this reason that the House mandated the Committees on Environment, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Downstream), and Climate Change, to investigate the environmental damage in oil producing communities caused by non-compliance to extant laws by oil producing companies”

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