LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria, the eight largest oil exporter, recorded at least 3,000 oil spills between 2006 and last month, the environment minister said Tuesday.
Evoking the figure at a meeting with oil company chiefs, John Odey told them to work with authorities to tackle the problem, the official News Agency of Nigeria quoted him as saying.
"In the light of this (the oil spills), it is imperative that you adequately review your processes in collaboration with National Oil Spill Detection and Remediation Agency," Odey said.
The minister, who did not venture a guess how much oil had been spilled during the period, said that the companies should boost efforts to improve education and awareness about the problem.
He said a top-level committee aimed to drum up funds both locally and abroad to clean up sites hit by oil spills.
The minister pointed out that after a BP oil rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and unleashing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, a compensation fund had been set up to help affected people.
"We should explore similar opportunities, we need to take advantage of appropriate global resources and technology to achieve our task in a cooperative manner," Odey said.
Oil companies in Nigeria often blame oil spills on armed militants operating in the Niger Delta, who campaign for a fairer allocation of oil revenue to locals in the oil-rich region.