09 February 2012, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – The people of Biseni clan in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State yesterday raised a fresh alarm over a new oil spill from an oil well belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company.
They warned that failure of the company to mop up the spread of the spill could lead to another fire break outbreak in the area.
Biseni clan is host to two major oil giants, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)
Leaders of the affected communities of Egbebiri 1 and 2, said the new spill occurred on the 8th of February.
According to them, the area had also suffered oil spillages in June, 2011 and January, 2012 without clean-up as requested from the Agip management.
Spokesperson for the Egbebiri 2 Community, Mr. Ogiama Solomon, said the spill came from the oil wells belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company.
” The two well are identified as Well 5 and Well 11. The spill occurred on Well 11. Well 5 is not flowing. It was last month; I think 7th January, 2012 that the spill occurred from Well 11 here between 10:00pm and 11:00pm .This pipeline they just changed it newly. And the spill burst out from the Wellhead where they connected this pipe,” he said adding that they had contacted the company which came and inspect the the facility only to discover it was due to equipment failure.
According to him, “At that particular time the whole surroundings of the two wells (wells 5 and 11) crude oil, filled the whole place. And, again, before Agip came and stopped the crude oil from spewing it was spraying very high into the air and going towards our pond and lake.”
The Environment Rights Action (ERA) in report on the spill made available to Vanguard in Yenagoa and signed by its State Coordinator, Comrade Morris Alagoa revealed that the sites of the spillage showed that several trees and shrubs within the vicinity have either withered or is withering; especially the guava trees planted by the people.
The report of ERA, compiled from observations of its workers at the scene of the spillage, revealed that “like in most other communities suffering the negative impacts of oil exploitation around them, the people of Egbebiri were visibly concerned about their plight. Agip has continued to pollute the people’s farmlands, swamp, ponds and lakes without taking steps to effect clean-up.
“Apart from the immediate surroundings of the current spill site [of January, 2012] that is highly polluted, there are thick volumes of crude oil inside the borrowed pit and lake not too far from the Well 11. Several trees and shrubs within the vicinity have either withered or is withering; especially the guava trees planted by the people.”
“The shrill sound from the Well 11 reveals that crude oil was flowing through it; even as confirmed by Mr. Ogiama M. Solomon. At the June, 2011 impacted spill site, the mark of the height of the crude oil on the flood water was obvious and, walking through the land one experience a spongy feeling under the shoe. The land is dead, apart from the trees standing, no living creature was noticed or could still survive in that environment; including snails and reptiles.”
The environment advocacy group called on the company to take advantage of the dry weather to mobilize to site and clean-up the polluted environment adding, “the relevant Federal Government agencies should rise up to the occasion and compel Agip to go and clean-up the environment the company has messed up. Agip should be made to pay adequate compensation to the community for damages. Environmental/Human Rights organizations should take up this matter to ensure environmental justice for the people of Egbebiri I and II.