….Says Victims Died Out of Negligence
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Sir Victor Umeh, has blamed the recent oil leak in Osisioma, in Abia State in which over one hundred and fifty persons lost their lives on the inability of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to carry out their duty efficiently and effectively, saying that the victims died as a result of negligence on the part of the agency.
Briefing newsmen at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nise, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Umeh said that the attention of the senate was drawn to the fire incident by the senator representing the district, Sen. T.A Orji, noting that he contributed to the motion without prompting, adding that he always feel sad and disturbed anytime people lose their lives out of negligence or carelessness on the part of those who were paid to do their job.
‘I hate to hear or see people lose their lives in this manner. I am a pro-life and I am very passionate about it. I was very angry in that motion and I felt that people responsible should be punished. I have to condemn it; one, the agency charged with the responsibility of detecting oil leak at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) failed to live up to expectation. They were busy chasing shadows.
‘At a time, we organized a public hearing for them. You need to see what they did when we want to amend the NOSDRA Act. I am a member of the Senate Committee on Enviroment. So I remember that during the public hearing, the two agencies came and clashed.
‘Everybody struggling to be given the responsibility and you can see, despite that, when the emergency like this occurs you will not see them anywhere. So this leak was reported and nothing was done and people started taking advantage of it by going to the pipeline to take patrol. With time it caught fire and killed 150 people. If they would’ve responded swiftly, nobody would’ve died,’ Umeh fumed.
The Aguluzigbo born lawmaker described the incident as abominable and condemnable, saying that people concerned had been invited, assuring that he would monitor it to ensure that adequate measures were given.