23 December 2013, Yenagoa – Some residents near Shell’s oil field in Ikarama, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa, said they abandoned their homes to avert possible health hazards from prolonged exposure to oil spill.
They, in Yenagoa said that they fled their homes because of the company’s delay to clean up the November oil spill.
A spokesman of the community, Mr Freeborn Roland, told NAN that he and other residents near the impacted area abandoned their homes because of the health implications, especially on their children.
“My house is surrounded by the spill and because we don’t have money we were initially reluctant to take the option of relocation.
“We have been enduring and suffering the negative health impacts, especially my children, my older children suffered the same thing in the past.
“This spill happened not long after my wife gave birth to twins. It was a matter of life and death as my new babies also came down with strange symptoms.
“Luckily, through the help of a Good Samaritan, I have been able to relocate my family twice this year due to oil spill in this environment,” he said.
Also, Mrs Ayibakuro Warder, a women leader in the community, said she was concerned about the health implications of the spill.
“We have been lamenting all these years about oil spills. Our livelihood has been negatively impacted in terms of damage to farmlands and poor crop yields,’’ she said.
Warder said that water in the area had been polluted due to incessant oil spills and aquatic lives had been affected.
The spill from the Rumuekpe crude delivery line discharged about 482 barrels of Bonny Medium crude stream into the environment on Nov. 2.
According to the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report on the spill obtained by NAN in Yenagoa, the spill impacted an area of 6400 square meters.
The report added that the spill stretched beyond the oil firm’s right of way into the adjoining areas.
According to the JIV report, recovery of the spilled oil commenced on Nov. 12, while clean up of the spill site would be completed in April 2014.
NAN checks, however, showed that the clean up exercise had yet to commence.
A spokesman of the oil firm, Mr Precious Okolobo, declined comments on slow response to the spill.