The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has called for a comprehensive audit of safety procedures at Agip oilfields in Bayelsa following frequent fatal explosions.
This is contained in its field report on pipeline explosions in the company’s facilitiy, made available to reporters in Yenagoa.
According to the report signed by Mr. Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Resources at ERA, the incidents had resulted in 11 deaths within the past nine months.
The NGO, therefore, called for strict sanctions including revocation of operational license of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), if found culpable.
“The authorities should set up an investigative panel of inquiry to follow up this incident to its logical conclusion and; there should be a public hearing of the report of such a panel.
“Community representatives and the Civil Society should be given an opportunity to also contribute towards such an effort to bring out the truth of the matter.
“The oil industry is too important to the nation and, it would be gross disservice and negligence on the part of three tiers of government not to accord proper investigation of such incidents the importance they deserve,” the report said.
The NGO further recommended that autopsy be carried out on the victims to determine the actual cause of death, adding that the deaths recorded during repairs at NAOCs oil fields was alarming.
It said that sanctions were necessary to make operators in the industry more serious and professional especially in the areas of safety and oil fields management.
The NGO also urged the regulatory agencies to ensure that Agip clean up and re-mediate the affected areas.
It will be recalled that Director-General, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, Dr Peter Idabor had confirmed the death of three oil workers in the explosion.
Idabor identified poor safety procedures as cause of explosion at the oil field.
When contacted, NAOC officials and its parent company, Eni, declined comment on the explosion.
Mr. Fillippo Cotalini, Media Relations Manager at Eni is yet to respond to an email requesting the company’s reaction to the March 26, 2016 pipeline explosion.
The three explosions had occurred at oilfields operated by NAOC in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa between July 9, 2015 to March 26, 2016.
The July 9, 2015 blast at Azuzuama area left 14 people dead, three were killed on March 26, 2016, but no casualty was recorded in the earlier explosion recorded in February.