Bayelsa State government has threatened to sanction the management of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, for unreasonable delays in releasing the documents and remains of victims of pipeline explosion, which occurred at its field, Azuzuama.
A total of 14 persons died in the pipeline explosion which occurred on July 9, 2015 at Agip’s oil fields in Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw local government area in Bayelsa.
Two regulatory officials from Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, died in the incident.
Mr. Iniruo Wills, Commissioner for Environment in Bayelsa, had said in an interview on Wednesday that management of NOAC was withholding autopsy reports and death certificates of the victims.
Wills, who berated the stance of the oil firm, said that Bayelsa government frowned at the development which had frustrated burial plans by the families of the deceased.
He said that the state government would wield the big stick by meting appropriate sanctions if the documents are not released immediately to allow the families to bury the dead.
“Managing Director of Agip has refused or been foot-dragging to release the autopsy report, death certificates and collection card for our staff’s remains, several weeks on.
“We find this to be grossly indecent and an aggravation of the Azuzuama tragedy that we and the families are still grappling with.
“The families continue to be in suspense and have had to change burial plans because of this.
“We would treat it as a provocation and respond with appropriate governmental sanctions if we don’t receive these papers immediately,” Wills said.
Officials of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, representatives of the host community and Bayelsa Ministry of Environment were investigating the cause of a recent oil spill in the area when the explosion occurred.
Mr. Dan Jumbo, Public Affairs Manager of NAOC, declined comments when contacted for reactions on the developments.

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