Bayelsa community raises alarm over fresh spills

Samuel Oyadongha

21 September, 2011, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa- Barely five days after the clamping of an oil spill point on a line, that ravaged Kalaba community in the Okordia clan of Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State, the indigenes of the rural settlement on the bank of the Taylor Creek have raised an alarm over the discovery of three sites of oil spillages from pipelines owned by The Nigeria Agip oil Company, a subsidiary of the Italian oil company Eni.

The sites of oil spillage according to the natives were discovered few days after the officials of Agip clamped the leaks of the spillage that occurred earlier this month.

Confirming the discoveries to newsmen yesterday in Yenagoa, the Paramount Ruler of Kalaba Community, Chief Idoniboye Nwalia, the Spokesman of the Youth Organization, Oburo Samuel and the immediate past Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC), warned that there is need for quick response as the spillage is moving towards the river used by the community.

According to the past chairman of the community, the spillage occurred at a ruptured part of the Agip pipelines across the Taylor Creeks and two others behind the community.

“This is the fourth spill occurring in the community within three weeks. We call on Agip to find solutions to the incidents. We hope they come quick and do clean ups of the sites,” he said.

A team of the Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoE) led by Alagoa Morris that visited the sites of the spillage have also in their report observed that cause of the spill can not be confirmed but they observed sharp edges of the mud within the point where the semi refined petroleum product was spewing.

In their report, the team stated “we noticed that the content spewing from the ruptured point was noticed to be spreading downwards into the nearby flowing body of water which linked other neighbouring communities. And because the substance spewing into the environment looks very much like semi-refined crude oil product, it appears silvery in colour on top of the water unlike the black/bronze colors that crude oil normally display.”

The team asked the Agip oil company to mobilize to site and stop the spillage, adding, “apart from taking immediate steps to contain and clean up the impacted environment, Agip should effect cleanup and remediation. The authorities, especially, those charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the environment and true representatives of the people should prevail on Agip to ensure that the company takes prompt action.”

“The community must be represented in any Joint Team to ascertain the immediate and remote cause of these spills. And the community should be given copies of the JIT report for community purposes.”

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