Port Harcourt — The Bayelsa State Government has vowed to take up a legal action against Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, and some industry regulators, over the outcome of the Joint Investigation Visit to the OML29 oil spills in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.
Recall that the JIV by stakeholders to the spill site has been inconclusive due to disagreement on the cause of the well blowout, which spilled massive crude oil and gas into the Santa Barbara River and Nembe creeks, between experts from the state government and officials of the regulatory agencies, NOSDRA and NUPRC.
The JIV report signed by Akindele Olubunmi, Ohaji Nwabueze and Ismail Baba- Ahmed for NOSDRA, and Adetoyinbo Adeyemi, Ingo E.A for NUPRC, and Bilong Agustina Amaka, Andrew Oni and Ebi Bomo- Eric for Aiteo, said the blowout was caused by third party interference.
While the technical team set up by the Bayelsa State Government to unravel the OML29 oil spill, led the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyal Dambo, insisted that Aiteo had tampered with the well head before the JIV, and even went on to deny the team access to the spill site prior to the JIV.
However, the regulators had announced that the wellhead blowout was impossible without third party interference.
But the Bayelsa State Government has utterly rejected the JIV report which its representatives refused to sign, announcing that the state was setting up modalities in place to commence a legal action to defend its people and the environment.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa State, Mr. Biriyai Dambo, SAN said the state was consulting with experts within and outside the country, including international non-governmental organisations to build a formidable case to defend the people of Bayelsa State.
Dambo said the state governor was miffed at the attitude displayed by Aiteo, NOSDRA and NUPRC in the attempt to short-change Bayelsans and has given his nod for the technical team to do all what it can within legitimate and legal confines to get justice for the state.
The Nembe oil spill technical committee chairman said that it was regrettable that the operator had tampered and fixed the missing valves that would have been scrutinised by the JIV team.
He maintained that the state government has ‘convincing evidence’ to show that NOSDRA and NUPRC are biased over the JIV report they released last Wednesday.
The JIV is a statutory probe that follows every reported leak incident, usually convened by the operator of the leak facility and other stakeholders including representatives of the oil firm, affected communities, regulators and state ministry of environment.
A JIV is carried out to ascertain the cause, volume and impacted areas of the spills.