By Sylvester Thompson
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Thursday called for a sustainable reforms in the oil and gas industry to ensure responsible petroleum exploration.
Aishatu Umar, NSE chairman, Giri chapter, Abuja made the call at the 3rd Engineering Week and Annual Lecture.
Umar said such reforms would also enhance production activities, influence economic development in oil producing host communities and preserve human and environmental health.
The theme of this year’s lecture was “Environmental Issues in the Oil and Gas Industry’’.
Umar noted that advances in the development of petroleum resources had contributed greatly to the global energy demand and economic development over the past decades.
She said these advances equally left profound negative impacts on the natural environment as well as adverse human health effects in most oil producing host communities around the world.
Umar said that the Niger Delta region over the years had also experienced a wide range of environmental pollution, degradation, human health risks and socio-economic problems due to activities of petroleum exploration and production.
The chairman observed that the degradation of the Niger Delta region over the years had been compounded by a variety of issues.
She listed the inability of the political elite to effectively manage petroleum-derived revenue and loss of petroleum resource revenues to corruption among the issues.
Umar also blamed ineffective government’s petroleum development policies for the level of degradation in the Niger Delta.
She maintained that effective environmental legislation and implementation of international environmental principles were also critical for sustainable development, good environmental governance, and effective environmental management and protection in the Niger Delta region.
The chairman said that there was also the need to implement effective environmental legislative and institutional framework to improve petroleum industry regulations in Nigeria.
She called for the review of relevant statutory laws and the 1999 Constitution for effective framework for regulation, sustainable objectives and environmental enforcement.