By Kingsley Braide
An oil pipeline allegedly belonging to oil giant, Shell has erupted close to Agbura Community in Yenagoa local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
We gathered that the incident has led to the discharge of large volume of crude oil into the rivers and creeks, and impacting negatively on some communities including Otuokpoti in Ogbia Local Government Area.
According to indigenes of the area, the spill was discovered in the early hours of Wednesday, when they noticed large volume of crude oil flowing on the rivers.
An indigene, Mrs. Vivian Kasikoro said the affected pipeline was rusty, old, poorly maintained and long overdue for replacement.
She said: “The spillage contaminated the water supply of the communities around, the rivers where most residents fish and it caused an overall pollution and degradation of the environment.
“Since the incident occurred, Shell has not made any effort to intervene in the damage caused by their pipeline.
“I want to call on the federal and state government to put in place measures to ameliorate the effects of the spillage being experienced by the local communities”.
Speaking to Journalists at Otuokpoti community, the CDC Chairman, Azibalua Amon, the councilor representing Ward Two in the Ogbia Legislative Assembly, Hon. Onem Miracle, and High Chief Don-Evarada Abednego, condemned the attitude of oil multinationals operating the area.
They described the spill as a death sentence since the community lacks basic amenities such as healthcare facility and portable drinking water.
On his part, an Environmental Activist, and head of Environmental Rights Action, (ERA), Yenagoa field office, Alagoa Morris, described it as a major spill and called on the regulators to swing into action, contain the situation with immediate clean up exercise.
“From what we are seeing, there is a clear testimony the environment is telling us that when it occurs, it spreads even above the height of a palm tree and about 50 mitres away from the pipeline affecting crops around the environment.
“When you come here within the next one week, you’ll see that everything has been whithered away. That is the testimony around spill areas.
“It is unacceptable that we did not see the owner of the facility when we came here. Ordinarily, they are supposed to be here to negotiate with the regulators and community folks, so it is same old story.
“We call on Shell and the regulators to swing into action because this is a major oil spill”.