OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) to investigate and put out the inferno at the premises of Caritas University, Amorji Nike in Enugu State.
The House also called on NNPC and its subsidiaries, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), and all relevant agencies to undertake a detailed study of the environmental impact of the fire.
These calls were sequel to a motion of urgent public importance raised at plenary on Wednesday by Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House.
Raising the motion, Okechukwu explained that the unending fire at Caritas University is suspected to be fueled by methane gas has been on for over twenty-one (21) days.
He further noted that the fire which has claimed one life, reportedly started on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, after borehole drillers engaged by the university struck a gas belt after about 1,242 feet below the earth.
The member representing Aninri / Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State noted that all efforts by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal and State Fire Services, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and its state counterpart (SEMA) to put out the fire have failed.
This he noted included pouring over twelve (12) tanks of water with four (4) drums of chemicals.
The Enugu lawmaker added that since the fire started, there has been no known intervention from the NNPC or any of its subsidiaries, stressing that pursuant to the laws, the federal government is responsible for underground mineral resources and deposits.
While expressing concern that the incident which has been ongoing in a university community poses the risk of further exposure to the general public, he raised an alarm worried about the environmental hazards occasioned by the suspected gas flaring; bearing in mind the precarious situations in the South-South geopolitical zone.
“Aware of the indications of available mineral deposits in the South-East coupled with the recent recognition of Anambra and Kogi States as oil-producing states, hence the need to explore oil in the Enugu belt.”
“Experts have warned of the danger of the fire to the ecosystem as same could burn for fifty (50) years.”
“An estimated 5,000 cubic feet of gas is consumed every minute in the fire according to experts,” he lamented.
Okechukwu, therefore, reminded all, of the commitment of the 9th House of Representatives to ensure the delivery of value and make life less stressful for Nigerians.
The motion scaled through a majority voice vote when put up by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila with a mandate handed the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to follow up on the matter and report back to the House within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.