Oil spillage: Displaced Bayelsa indigenes decry neglect, petition FG

Agip18 March 2014, Yenagoa – Displaced indigenes of the Izagara and Agum clans of Okoroba community of Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, have decried neglect by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company.

The indigenes have therefore petitioned the Federal Government and the National Assembly over the rising cases of devastation in their area.

The community, which has played host to Agip over the years, alleged that last month’s massive oil spillage from pipelines destroyed their farms and waters.

The community, in a statement by its spokesman on Tuesday, Mr. Gift Douglas, a lawyer, said their community had witnessed massive oil spills from the Brass /Ogada pipeline in recent years due to the age of the pipelines as well as the activities of the vandals.

Douglas said, “Oil spillage has become a recurrent decimal in the land of Okoroba and the impact of the activities has affected the people negatively.
“The alleged contempt by the oil company over incessant oil spillage is provocative and a strain to the existing relationship. Why are they treating the Okoroba people with such contempt? Will they exhibit this attitude in Milan, London, France or in any of the European Union member’s state?

“The application of double standards in the oil operations in the Delta is worrisome. We wish to state categorically that the spill is as a result of equipment failure and by legal implication, the people are entitled to be compensated adequately.”
He demanded the immediate dispatch of relief materials to the community, insisting that  an emergency meeting with the company, government and the Okoroba people should be convened.

He also demanded a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, stressing that a proper clean-up of the land and the environment should be carried out.

He added, “We demand an IAE on the Okoroba devastated land as a result of the company activities. We demand for adequate and prompt compensation to the people of Okoroba and the family for the loss of sources of living.
“We wish to also demand that the company should carry out a comprehensive overhaul of the various pipelines based on their age and usage to avert any form of subsequent failure and avert the disaster. We call on the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Senate Committee on Petroleum to prevail on the company to do the needful in cleaning up the environment and the payment of compensation to people.

“We use this medium to call on the National Emergency Management Agency to support the community by providing relief materials to assuage the sufferings of the people.”
He said the Okoroba community had experienced various spills in succession from 1994,1996,2008,2009 and now 2014.

He said on February 16, there was a major oil spill from the Brass/Ogoda pipeline that had affected the environment and the farming and fishing activities of the people of the community.

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