02 October 2012, Sweetcrude, EKET – RESIDENTS of Ibeno community in Akwa Ibom State have expressed concern over the suspension of the clean up of the Atlantic Coastline contaminated by an oil spill on August 13.
The spill occurred near the Qua Iboe terminal, owned by Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, the local arm of the ExxonMobil Corporation in Nigeria, but the company claimed the source of the spill was unknown.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, had directed the company to clean up the coastline within its oil fields.
Although, the firm started the clean-up of the shoreline on August 19, it, however, suspended the exercise after three weeks.
Chief Effiong Archianga, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, told News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that the community was apprehensive over the suspension of the clean up exercise.
“I have asked community leaders in the affected places to find out the cause of the delay which has run into weeks now.
“They are yet to brief me; but I can say that the development is causing a lot of anxiety,’’ Archianga said.
He noted that prolonged exposure of the spill deposits was injurious to the health of the people of the community and their fishing vocation.
Also reacting, Chief William Mkpa, a community representative, said that the suspension of the clean up negated the environmental safety laws.
“What Mobil did by abandoning the exercise, against the directive of the oil industry regulators, is unacceptable to the community.
“We, therefore, urge them (MPN) to resume the clean up and remediation of the impact caused by the spill on this community.’’
However, Mr. Nigel Cookey-Gam, the Communications Manager of MPN, said that the clean up would soon resume. ‘Contractors have been engaged, and they will deploy personnel to the area soonest,’’ he said.