27 July 2015, Yenagoa — A massive oil spill from the Ossiama-Ogboinbiri and Ogboinbiri-Tebidaba pipelines of Nigerian Agip Oil Company has devastated the environment of Keme-Ebiama, Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
It was gathered at the weekend that the oil leak, which spewed volumes of crude oil from the ruptured spot on the oil-bearing pipe was reported by community people on the July 14,2015.
The oil spill was said to have impacted the river in the area and spread into lakes, ponds, rivulets and swamps aided by rising flood and rains.
Several incidences of oil spill had been recorded in the area, the last of which occurred on April 23, 2015.
The people of the affected communities were suspecting that the spill was allegedly caused by equipment failure.
“Incidentally, that spot was only the soft spot where the crude oil found its way to the surface, the main ruptured spot on the body of the oil-bearing pipe was a little bit away from where the crude oil was gushing out on the ground”, said Tontiemote Yeiyei, a native of Ondewari and Project Officer, Ondewari Health, Education and Environmental Project (OHEEP).
“Yes, this current spill is confirmed as equipment failure incident again like the one we signed for in April, 2015”, Moses Tiger, acting of Okpotuwari corroborated.
Tontiemote said a team of Agip technicians had visited the spill site on July 21 to carry out clamping and repairs of the damaged point on the pipe promising to return the following day.
“We all that were present saw that even though the aqua-rap was still on the body of the pipe, the crude oil was escaping from the pipe,” he added.
But a fire outbreak was reported on Wednesday July 22 as “a familiar thick column of dark smoke was rising from the current spill impacted environment”.
*Igoniko Odum – Daily Independent