20 September 2013, Yenagoa – A breach in an underwater manifold in Agip’s Brass Swamp location, Bayelsa State, has been discharging crude oil into streams and adjourning creeks.
“Crude oil is floating on the water, and the members of our communities are anxious,” said a community leader.
A correspondent of SaharaReporters visited the spill site and reported seeing heavy oil equipment deployed by Agip’s contracting firm, Deck Oil and Gas. A community source said the community suspected that the equipment might have caused the spill as two earth-moving machines were abandoned at the construction sites near the spill site.
“An Agip engineer told us that the oil leak may have emanated from an underwater valve at the company’s pipeline network,” a member of the community said.
Collins Adikoko, the deputy paramount ruler of Ikeinghenbiri in Olodiama clan, stated that his community was distressed by the leak. He added that the oil had spread into the creeks and natural fish ponds where most members of the surrounding communities fished.
“We have consistently been neglected by Agip which pollutes our area without any form of compensation,” said Mr. Adikoko. “And if you go around our swamps and bush, you see oil everywhere,” he continued.
It was gathered that officials of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and members of Ikeinghenbiri community in southern Ijaw local government in Bayelsa had scheduled a joint visit to one of the oil spill sites on Thursday.
A source disclosed that the oil leak was discovered on Monday by a woman who was returning from fishing. Mr Marshall Josiah, chairman of Community Development Committee in Ikeinghenbiri, said that the visit to the spill site was scheduled after a report was made to the oil firm.
“The spill was reported to Agip officials as soon as it was discovered on Monday and as we speak the spill is still going on,” he said. “We have been notified by the management of Agip that they will be convening a joint investigative visit to the spill site this Thursday, so we are expecting them so that we can take stock of the damage done to our environment.” He continued: “Our fishermen were compelled to suspend fishing because the whole creeks and swamp were contaminated and today we can only depend on imported frozen fish. It is a strange thing for us as a fishing community to be buying frozen fish when we are supposed to be selling fish to others.” He said the community needed relief and appealed to the government to look into their plight.