Residents of Ogboinbiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, have cried out over massive oil spillage that has occurred in the oil-bearing community, devastating the area.
According to community sources, the fresh oil spill which occurred on Monday, October 18, was said to have emanated from a facility operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) around the community and was alleged to have been caused by equipment failure.
A field report released on Tuesday by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said the incident “sprayed crude oil into the environment in gaseous form”.
The report signed by Project Officer/Head of ERA Niger Delta Resource Centre, Yenagoa, Alagoa Morris, noted that a similar incident had happened around some of the oil firm’s wellheads in the area about a year ago.
The report said: “The (recent) incident occurred on the wellhead operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in a marine environment, very visible from the community and commuters on the Apoi Creek; a short distance from the community.
“ERA/FoEN had reported a similar incident on these wellheads (three) about a year ago. And these spills, which are due to equipment failure, impact the one-way flowing Apoi Creek, affecting Ogboinbiri community and downstream communities like Keme-ebiama and others, all in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State”.
Youth president of Ogboinbiri, Clinton Oseke, who confirmed the recent oil spill, said that officials of Agip mobilised to the facility one and a half hours after the incident occured.
Oseke said: “It occurred as a result of equipment failure, no argument about that. The company officials finally put it off, but the water of the creek and air we breathe are affected.
“While crude oil spread downstream, the fumes in the air lasted for several hours in the community environment causing discomfort to residents”.
The environmental rights organisation called on the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency (NOSDRA) to take steps to ensure that “these recurring equipment failure incidents from Agip facilities within Ogboinbiri community environment do not continue without serious penalties against the company”.
“Besides proper investigation and related actions to forestall further occurrence, the incidents should attract compensation, medical attention for victims and environmental audit.
“This is most needful as residents of the community depend on their natural bodies of water in the environment for their water needs since there is no provision of potable water by government or Agip”.