Anyanya who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, noted that NOSDRA does not have adequate information in the public phase. “There is such abysmal low level of awareness as to the importance of this very critical agency of government that does not only belong to government but to all of us in Nigeria,” he said.
He added that because people know very little or nothing at all about this agency and its work, it forms a very difficult circumstance to response and therefore, “we make appeal to the media for a special partnership for this matter affects everybody,” he stressed.
“If you give people sensitive work to do it is only fair that the people they serve have as much knowledge and awareness as possible about what they do so that they can give them better cooperation.”
According to Anyanya, NOSDRA is given the charge to secure life, to secure our environment and our well being and we need to give support beyond what we are already doing to enable this agency handle the critical environmental consequences of oil spill. “What NOSDRA is doing to mitigate the harmful consequences of oil spill in the interest of everybody,” he added
He stressed that NOSDRA is not for government but that government has given communities affected with oil spillage a voice through the agency and that the voice is committed to becoming the strongest advocate for the communities.
While calling for more funds to run the agency, the chairman also stressed the need for government to assist it with suitable accommodation to enable it move from the rented apartment that houses the sensitive equipment and information of the agency.
The chairman also noted that the agency which is also to enforce laws guarding against oil spillage cannot do so effectively until the amendment bill is signed into law.
He lauded the efforts to amend NOSDRA Act, “because right now the general perception is that NOSDRA Act is a dog that can bark but cannot bite and in the business of regulation you need to be able to bark and bite.”
Also he commended the efforts of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and his House of Representative counterpart while he urged them to expedite actions in passing the Bill to law. The new Act will spell out the penalties and fines for the offenders; when passed to Law will reposition the agency in its quest to sanction oil spillers in the country.
Anyanya said, it amounts to nothing if our population is dying young, there is a direct threat to our life expectancy and we need to raise attention to this threat. The business of environment is everybody’s business and nothing is greater than the collective will of Nigerians to have a save environment.
The Director General of NOSDRA, Peter Idabor while collaborating the chairman’s speech attributed the reduction of life expectancy to the intake of polluted food which he linked to oil spillage. He said the media being the vehicle through which the Nigerians will know what we are passing through