A total of 1,300 oil spill incidents were recorded in various parts of Nigeria between 2018 and 2019, this is according to the latest figures compiled by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.

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It was also stated that most of the oil spills were caused by the activities of vandals who break the pipelines to steal petroleum products.

The Director-General of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Idris Musa, disclosed that the investigations by his agency revealed that an average of five oil spills was recorded daily in Nigeria.

Musa, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, said, “In 2018 we had about 600 oil spill incidents and in 2019, we had over 700 oil spill-impacted sites across the country.

“These were oil spill incidents recorded in Nigeria that we’ve compiled and it is based on the fact that by law if there is an oil spill, you must report it. You must report any oil spill, no matter how small.”

“Most of the spills that occur are as a result of oil theft by those who go to pipelines to install valves. We had a similar incident about two weeks ago.”

Musa remarked that it was difficult to record the type of oil spills that were recorded in Nigeria in any other part of Africa.

“In fact, aside from Mexico, which is not an African country anyway, you will hardly find such situation anywhere else,” he stated.

The NOSDRA boss added, “Whenever we go for international conferences and we say we record over 700 oil spills in Nigeria, people ask how it happened.

“When you tell them that people go to oil pipelines to install valves to fetch oil like water, they will ask you if the people who fetch the products are crazy. This is because the pressure inside the pipes is so huge and it can cause severe damage if ruptured.”

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Musa further noted that the agency had realised that the underground tanks of many filling stations in the downstream oil sector leaked products into their surrounding environment.

This, he said, was not healthy for the environment, adding that NOSDRA had started taking inventory of defaulters.

He said, “If your tank spills oil as a downstream operator, you will have to clean it up. We have noticed that for some of them who have already spilt products, they find it difficult to clean up.”

Musa, however, insisted that the affected filling stations had been mandated to clean the spills or face sanctions.