Bayelsa govt, civil rights group push to revoke NAOC licence over negligence

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NIf the clamour and synergy between the government of Bayelsa State and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) work in the right direction, then, the operating license of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) may be revoked.
Iniruo Wills, Commissioner for Environment and Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN made the disclosure at a press briefing and launch of a report on the Azuzuama tragedy in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
The event which highlighted issues arising from negligence by NAOC in its roles and responsibilities, and led to the Azuzuama fire incident of July 9, 2015, resulted in the death of 14 persons. 
As a result, the call for the revocation of NAOC operating license has become imperative owing to the oil company’s persistent and criminal acts in frequent fire disasters which often times, resulted into deaths.
Lamenting NAOC’s nonchalant operations strategy, Wills stressed that, “what is happening in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region does not happen anywhere else in the world.”
He called for more action among stakeholders, including host communities, non-governmental organisations and governments, stressing, “We must make meaning by using this incident to insist and compel a turning point.”
According to him, the state government through his ministry has written to oil companies operating in the state and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) insisting on new guidelines for crude oil operations.
While accusing NNPC of docility in the face of unacceptable operating standards by oil majors in the state and the Niger Delta region, Wills said it is the place of the operators to ensure the safety and security of their facilities.
He also called for respect and protection of the rights of individuals and host communities, as the region is now the “most hydrocarbon polluted region in the world.”
In his address, ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Ojo demanded for $2.0 million as adequate compensation for each of the dead victims of the pipeline explosion.
He supported the call for the revocation of NAOC’s operating license, saying, “Since there is consistency in trends of explosions and reckless deaths, revocation of Agip’s operating license is now at stake.”

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