Fear grips Bayelsa community over gas leakage

Bonga-oil-spill11 July 2013, Yenagoa — Fear has gripped indigenes of Ikarama community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, over the strange odour in the area, caused by alleged discharge of large volume of a mixture of crude oil and gas into the air from an oil facility.

It was learnt that the leakage which occurred within Agip’s onshore oil field  close to  the Taylor Creek oil well was noticed by members of the community on Monday.

Spokesmen of Ikarama Development Committee,  Washington Odoyibo, Wednesday, in Yenagoa, said that the community noticed the development on Monday and regretted that the oil firm was yet to stop the leakage.

“The sound from the spill site could be heard even from our community, especially in the night where the community is relatively quiet. This confirms that it is really a serious spill.

It was on Monday that  one of our community ladies returned from the bush and told us that there was a very serious oil spill spraying like gas into the air from an Agip pipeline.

“On the cause of spill, you can see  that it is not easy to get closer to the spill point because of the way the whole environment is covered with crude oil fume. Hence, one cannot even guess the cause,” Odoyibo said.

He said members of the community were avoiding the leakage site for safety reasons as they were all concerned about an outbreak of fire and inhaling the toxic gas.

Reacting to the incident, Head of Environmental Rights Action, ERA, Field Operations in Bayelsa, Mr Alagoa Morris, urged the oil firm to lessen the pressure on the pipelines to reduce the discharge into the atmosphere.

He said that ERA had conducted a field trip to the impacted site and noted that the environment had been negatively affected by the incident, stressed the need for a Joint Investigation of the incident by the operator of the oil field, community representatives and oil industry regulators as well as the clean up of the impacted site.

– Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard.

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