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Taking a Cue From U.S., Nigeria Issues Warning On Spills

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Special to the NNPA by the GIN –

(GIN) – After years of standing idly by as western oil companies fouled Nigerian rivers, dirtied the air, killed fish and birds, the Nigerian government, spurred by U.S. action in the Gulf of Mexico, is showing a little fight-back.

This week, Nigerian officials threatened ExxonMobil with sanctions if the company fails to manage spills properly. Idris Musa, head of Nigeria's oil spill response agency, said the meeting was to "call the attention of ExxonMobil, for the last time, to the need to put a stop to the incessant oil spills that we have been having within its operation area."

Musa told reporters after the meeting that his agency had since 2006 recorded about 2,405 oil spills involving all the major international oil companies operating in Nigeria.

"The oil spills in the Niger Delta are more than what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico," said Alagoa Morris, field monitor for Environmental Rights Action in Bayelsa state.

ExxonMobil Safety and Environment Manager, John Etuk, admitted that there was a spill in May, but was promptly reported to the relevant agencies. He disputed the official charge that the oil group did not carry out the clean up to specification.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., ExxonMobil joined other oil companies in blaming BP for its actions leading to the spill that has befouled thousands of acres of shoreline along the Gulf.

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