Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment, has barred an oil and gas firm from mobilising to an exploration site in Anambra State over failure to adhere to regulatory cautions of drilling.
The Minister issued the ban order at an Environmental Impact Assessment tour of the proposed Ameshi and Enyi Field Development Project in Anambra State.
Ikeazor also warned that exploration of the nation’s hydrocarbon reserves must be done with utmost caution and in an environmentally sustainable manner, while calling for the optimal utilization of Nigeria’s resources to boost export earnings and provide employment opportunities for teeming youths.
She maintained that exploring companies must identify potential negative impacts of any project and prepare for mitigation ahead of time.
During the assessment tour, the Minister said the company was barred from exploring the site for failure to obtain required regulatory permits for drilling.
The Minister further said, “The Federal Ministry of Environment, observed that Sterling Exploration and Production Company Ltd, SEEPCO, did not obtain all the required regulatory permits before embarking on drilling at the site, in clear violation of section 62 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.
Ikeazor charged stakeholders to develop fresh ideas and recommendations that will assist in making the proposed Amechi FDP a development project that would be executed at the highest levels of environmental sustainability.
Meanwhile, Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, explained that the tour was a follow up to a series of complaints from the state government on the exploration activities of the banned company.
“Their operation has further worsened the plight and living conditions of their host communities, thereby creating palpable tension and restiveness that were uncommon before the company arrived.
“We are counting on you to ensure that the company complies with the EIA requirements so that we can leave no stone unturned in our quest to become a member of the Oil and Gas producing states of Nigeria,” said Obiano.