Nembe oil spill: Diri chides NOSDRA DG over comments on JIV

Yenagoa—Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has chided the Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Idris Musa, over comments he made faulting the legality of the state’s technical committee on the Santa Barbara oil spill in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.

Musa who reportedly stated that the committee was illegal, had prevented the media from being part of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the spillage site.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri responded to the DG’s comments on Monday, when he played host to the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, in Government House, Yenagoa.

The Governor who described NOSDRA’s action as unacceptable, averred that his decision to set up the technical committee on the spill was influenced by the country’s Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State.

The statement quoted the Governor as saying that he owed the people of Nembe the responsibility of protecting every victim affected by the spill.

Diri who called on the JIV team set up by NOSDRA to be transparent and free from any form of compromise noted that it was unethical for Aiteo to provide logistics for the JIV.

“Honourable Minister, I was not happy with the report I got from my team, particularly comments allegedly made by the DG of NOSDRA. I’m an elected governor of Bayelsa State and the number one thing about me is the wellbeing of the people, the environment and property of my state.

“I was told that the DG allegedly made comments that the committee I set up and inaugurated was an illegal committee. Also, he reportedly said that the media cannot be part of the JIV.

“Those were the reports I received from my team. I’m happy that you have cleared the issues about the media and they would be part of it.

“Like I said earlier, states and the federal government are supposed to work hand in gloves.

“I have the powers vested by the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State to set up the committee within the confines of Bayelsa State and on anything that is injurious to the people of the state.

“With the way it is going, I’m not happy with the report I’m getting from my committee.

“Aiteo could not have been the one to provide the logistics for the JIV. And the DG of NOSDRA should be the number one person to protect the state, its team and the environment,” the Governor said.

In her remark, Mrs. Ikeazor, revealed that her visit was to assess the damage caused by the spill and to ensure speedy remediation.

The minister who was accompanied by the NOSDRA DG, however noted that it was proper for the media to be part of the JIV and that journalists would not be prevented from visiting the site.

She thanked the people of Nembe Local Government Area for their peaceful disposition during and after the spill.

She also commended the state government for the exemplary leadership demonstrated to manage the situation.

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