Nigeria’s Most Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, has said the country lost N4.75 trillion on oil activities in the four years between 2015 and 2018, as estimated by the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter.
According to the Minister, Nigeria recorded 4,919 oil spills between 2015 and March 2021, and loses as much as 400,000 barrels per to oil spills, highest globally.
Abubakar who spoke said on Monday in Abuja at a town hall meeting on protecting oil and gas infrastructure in the country, lamented that the impact of vandalism of oil facilities have not only caused pollution of the environment but had consequences on the local people, the national economy and security.
“According to the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) data, the total number of oil spills recorded from 2015 to March 2021 is 4,919, the number of oil spills cost by collation is 308,” he said.
“The operational maintenance is 106, while sabotage is 3,628 and yet to be determined 70, giving the total number of oil spills on the environment to 235,206 barrels of oil. This is very colossal to the environment.
“Nigeria also lost approximately 4.75 trillion on oil activities in the four years between 2015 and 2018, as estimated by the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter.
“Several statistics have emphasised Nigeria as the most notorious country in the world for oil spills, losing roughly 400,000 barrels per day.
“The second country is followed by Mexico that has reported only 5,000 to 10,000 barrels only per day, thus a difference of about 3,900 percent.
“Now the environmental effect, which is the major concern of the ministry of environment, is in the loss of revenue.
According to him, attack on oil facilities has become the innovation that replaced agitations in the Niger Delta region against perceived poor governance and neglect of the area.
Abubakar also said the activities that come with oil exploration had similarly caused alterations to the environment and some of its effects had either been reduced or prevented.
The minister explained that adequate mitigation measures had been taken, including enforcement of relevant laws, regulations and guidelines, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act.
He said the EIA process ensured that measures were put in place to assist in the reduction of the negative effects and enhancement of the positive effects on the ecology, health and social wellbeing of communities in project areas.
“It is in the light of this fact that over 1,300 oil and gas projects in Nigeria have been subjected to the EIA process under the supervision of the ministry,” he said.
He noted that the effects of the destruction of oil and gas facilities had caused huge economic losses from pipelines to plant shutdowns, as well as loss of biodiversity, habitat and ecological damage.
“Also, increase in air pollution and the attendant climate change issues, public health impacts on affected communities, social impacts and loss of livelihood, supremacy among militants, casualties, among others,’’ he added.