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House Probes Toxic Waste Dump By NAOC

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 28, (THEWILL) â€'  The House of Representatives Wednesday resolved to commence investigation into allegations of dumping of 469 tons of toxic waste materials in some communities in Delta State by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

The resolution was consequent upon a motion brought by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai.

While leading debate on the motion, Ossai noted that the toxic waste materials are harmful to human health, fauna and flora, causes cancer, abortion, kidney failure, deformities, distortions in body chemistry, blindness and gastro-intestinal imbalance.

He said the waste also contains radioactive materials which causes slow death.

He however noted that the practice of dumping toxic waste material in Nigeria violates the Harmful Wastes (Special Criminal Provisions) Act, 1988 as well as the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act 2007 and extension sections 33(1) and 34(1a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which respectively guarantees the right to life and dignity of the human person.

According to him, 'a similar incident in October 2012, when NAOC dumped 30 drums of toxic crude oil sludge into the mangrove of Sabatoru-Etiama axis in Nembe Kingdom of Bayelsa State while carrying out the replacement of its obsolete pipelines.

'In January 2009, some drums of harmful wastes were discovered by the Police in Ikorodu, a surburb of Lagos, and no fewer than eight persons involved in the evacuation of the deadly wastes were hospitalised after inhaling it.'

Ossai lamented that the toxic materials were dumped along the roads and residential areas, including Aboh, Oloa-Ogwashi, Ukwu-Oba, Isheagu, Ossissa, Obikwele and Igbuku communities of Delta State.

He further noted that 'the 1988 case of one Sunday Nana of Iruekpen Construction Company in Koko, near Warri, Delta State, who reportedly died as a result of the health hazards he and others suffered from a consignment of 18,000 drums (3,500 tons) of toxic wastes shipped to him for a paltry sum of $100 a month.'

Ossai, who condemned the illicit act, maintained that NAOC and other international oil companies operating in the country have developed this deadly practice, especially in remote communities and swamps.

There was no dissenting voice to the motion and Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who presided over the session mandated the House Committee on Environment led by Hon. Uche Ekwunife (APGA, Anambra) to investigate and report back to the House within two weeks.