11 September 2016, Yenagoa — The people of Kalaba community in Bayelsa have bemoaned the impact of an oil leak from an oil field operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, ravaging the area.
The leak, according to residents, was discovered in the area in August and is currently spilling crude fast into the swamps and forest, bringing the ecosystem in the community under threat.
The inhabitants of Kalaba community, Yenagoa Local Government Area, lamented that over a month after the spill occurred, it had yet to be contained.
They appealed to the government and relevant authorities to prevail on NAOC to halt the spill and carry out remediation on the site.
Roman Orukali, paramount ruler of the community, said on Wednesday that though officials of the company visited the area, the spill had yet to be put under control.
“Agip came to the site on August 5 though they have yet to reach the area because of water but up till now the oil is still bubbling and it is heading into the swamp,” he said.
“That is one of the fishing swamps we have and if not cleaned up in time, it will affect us adversely.
“They don’t attend to spill on time, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to prevail on the company to return to the spill site on time and make the necessary clean up and remediation.” He said
The youth leader of the community, Samuel Opuro, said aquatic and farming activities were worst hit by the spills.
“When it got to my notice, it was on the 2nd of August and I am very sure that the spills happened even before then.
“For the site to remain that way for over a month you know what it means and when it rains, oil particles go deep into the soil and they affect farmlands, crops, even our economic trees are dying,” Oburo said.
Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist, called on the multinational oil firm to take urgent steps to clamp the spill in order to avert imminent danger.
“This is a rainy season, the spill will impact the surrounding swamp. This is when swamp time fishing activities take place and with the spill, that is affected because it is spreading within the surrounding swamps.
“That is why we are very much concerned because, the more the spill, the more the water takes it far away from the very spill point,” Mr. Morris said.
He urged the community to promptly report incidents of oil spills in their areas to ensure timely clean-up.
The management of Eni, Italian energy firm and parent company of NAOC, declined comments on the development when contacted.
*Arodiegwu Eziukwu – Premium Times