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NOSDRA underscores need for contingency plan to respond to oil spills

The Director-General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr Idris Musa, has underscored the need for a good contingency plan to effectively respond to oil spills in Nigeria.

Idris Musa
Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA

Musa said this on Monday, December 21, 2020 in Abuja at a media briefing on the Implementation of the 2020 Activation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) and Drill Exercise.

He described NOSCP as an administrative framework for combating oil spills through rapid response to ensure that in the event of an oil spill it is attended to effectively and timely to forestall any damage to assets and livelihood.

Musa noted that the plan was a product of the International Convention of Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation 1990 which Nigeria is a signatory to.

He said the convention required all countries that were signatories to have a NOSCP to implement in the event of an oil spill of any magnitude.

He said that NOSDRA was the agency charged with the responsibility of implementing the contingency plan.

“We have three tiers of response system in the oil spill response management and we are here to brief you on the tier three oil spill response and what should be done when it happens.

“When the oil spill goes beyond 2500 barrels, it becomes a tier three response and NOSDRA takes over in conjunction with the spiller, that is the oil company, and other stakeholders will be invited,” he said.

He stressed that the implementation of NOSCP was a collective responsibility that required the participation of all stakeholders as all had roles to play in the event of an oil spill.

Musa said stakeholders included the media, oil companies, the military, security agencies; Ministries of Health, Environment, Works, Water Resources; state and local governments and environment NGOs.

He said the 2020 activation meeting with stakeholders would be held virtually on Tuesday, Dec. 22 because of COVID-19 and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria would be in attendance.

“An exercise will be done and they are to show us their state of preparedness in case something should happen in their facility.

“This also goes for all oil companies operating in Nigeria which need to have their contingency plans ready for activation at any point in time,” he said.

Speaking on the relocation of tank farms to non-residential areas, he said it would require a multi-stakeholder approach, bearing in mind the environmental, technical and economic component needed to move them.

He, however, said in the interim, a good contingency plan must be put in place in terms of equipment, personnel and collaboration with other stakeholders in the event of an oil spill which was what the agency was ensuring.

Musa said the agency was working with a local company which had the capacity to assist in the event of oil spills in the country, explaining that depending on foreign help  might affect the time frame of containing oil spills

He said the Ministry of Aviation had provided space for oil spill equipment at the Lagos Airport and once approval was given the agency would have its own hangers at the airport.

By Okeoghene Akubuike

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