MKPOIKANA UDOMA 10 September 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Aquatic lives have been destroyed in Singama, a coastal community in Kula, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, following massive oil spills from a facility operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Local residents in the community said the oil spills which was noticed since the weekend, has spread to more than 4 neigbouring coastal communities in Kula Kingdom.
The residents of Singama who are mainly fishermen, while speaking with SweetCrudeReports, lamented that the spill polluted their river, and has impacted on their source of livelihood.
“I am a fisherman; the spillage has damaged my hook and my fishing net. My wives could not even pick any periwinkles at the creek, they had to rush out of the creek because of the crude. The spillage has damaged the periwinkles, the oysters, and so many other edible things in the River” one of them said.
Another fisherman pointing at others sitting at a levee, said: “most fishermen sitting around there, some of them kept their fishing net inside the water, now the oil spillage has damaged all of their fishing nets”.
A woman who gave her name as Ibim, said: “We are into these periwinkle business, that is how we managed to take care of our children and it is from these creeks that we get fishes and crayfishes to sell for food. Now since this spillage occurred at the weekend, there is nowhere to do business again. If we go into the River, there is no crayfish and fishes again. When I got into the creek this morning, I saw so many rotten fishes that have been killed due to the spillage” she said.
The Head of the fishermen in Singama coastal community in Kula, Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Alabo Jack while calling for aide and relieve materials from the government as well as from SPDC, reiterated that the oil spill emanated from equipment failure from a Shell operated facility, and was not an act of sabotage as would be purported later by Shell.
According to him, “We discovered this spillage yesterday (Monday) from a Shell Pipeline which is a 24inches pipeline; we discovered that the spill is from equipment failure, now the thing has affected our community”
“The cause of this spill is based on equipment failure, we don’t want to see SPDC come here and tell us that it was an act of sabotage. In fact, SPDC should bring relieve materials before any assessment should be done. SPDC should come to our aide, because the spillage is so much that we cannot even breadth, it has even affected the oxygen, as I am speaking with you now the oxygen we are breathing is crude oil and gas”
“We want shell to empower us, because we are hungry. Our source of livelihood has been cut off” he said.
In the meantime, efforts to reach the spokesperson of SPDC, Mr. Precious Okolobo, proved futile, but the Port Harcourt Zonal Director of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Sir Cyrus Nkangwung, confirmed that the agency is fully aware of the spillage but declined further comments.
However, SweetCrudeReports gathered that officials of SPDC has stopped the spillage and barricaded the point of the spill, nevertheless, the spill has hitherto spread to some other communities and has damaged the atmosphere in Singama coastal community in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government of Rivers State.