The Federal Government has raised the need to work out modalities on how to adequately and fairly compensate both victims of oil spill and environmental pollution across the country. The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, stated this yesterday in Lagos at a three-day workshop jointly organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Oil Spill Detention and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in partnership with the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GIWACAF), aimed at ensuring victims of oil spill and pollution access the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) fund of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Abubakar, who was represented by the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, said that the objective of the workshop is to draw attention to the scope and implementation of the IOPC fund, focusing on the procedure related to liability and compensation in case of an oil spill.
Abubakar added: “The devastating impacts of oil spills on the environment, health and livelihoods of our rural and urban communities have led to land degradation, loss of lives, destruction of habitats, loss of bio-diversity, diseases, poor sanitation, loss of livelihoods as well as the depletion of national revenue base. The need to work out modalities on how to adequately and fairly compensate both victims of oil spill pollution and the environment is the reason we are here today. “However, our peculiar circumstances in Nigeria demand for a Convention that will give attention to liability and compensation regime for oil spills which occur from Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO), the loading points for maritime tankers. Consideration should not only be given to socio-economic losses suffered by individual or communities but also to ecological damage by way of effective restoration of the damaged ecosystem.” In his welcome address, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, explained that the GIWACAF workshop on oil spill pollution, damage, assessment, liability and compensation would be a very fruitful venture that would assist the nation to build capacity and showcase the nation’s readiness to tackle the global challenges of oil spill.