The Federal Government says it is coming up with a comprehensive national oiled wildlife contingency plan (OWCP), to protect and preserve the country’s wildlife in the event of any oil spills.
Ibrahim Yusuf, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, said this at a workshop on developing OWCP, Tuesday, in Abuja.
The workshop was organised by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), in collaboration with the Global Initiative for West Central and Southern Africa (GI-WACAF).
According to Yusuf, the contingency plan aimed to safeguard the ecosystem and protect the wildlife that depends on them for survival in the event of an oil spill. He was represented by Charles Ikea, director of pollution, control and environmental health, in the ministry.
The permanent secretary said the foundation of any robust oiled wildlife contingency plans lay in collaboration and coordination.
Yusuf said that Nigeria and the world in recent years have witnessed several oil incidents with impacts on the environment.
“These events serve as stark reminders of the vulnerability of our natural habitats and the fragile lives that inhabit them.
“Wildlife from seabirds, marine mammals, fish and reptiles, face dire consequences when oil contaminates their habitats.
“It is our responsibility, therefore, to prepare for such incidents and act promptly to mitigate their impacts,” he said.
He further noted that developing an effective oiled wildlife contingency plan was not a regulatory requirement, but an ethical obligation we owe the creatures that share our planet.
According to him, education and awareness play a pivotal role in stakeholders’ efforts to preserve wildlife during oil spills.
“By implementing stringent regulations, monitoring systems, ensuring high integrity of oil facilities and risk assessment strategies, we can significantly reduce the likelihood of oil spills,” he said.
He said it was crucial to establish a well-coordinated response framework, including clear lines of communication and available resources.
Idris Musa, the director-general of NOSDRA, said the OWCP would serve as a blueprint for immediate and effective response in the event of an oil spill.