The Head of the Environmental Rights Action, Yenagoa field office, Alagoa Morris, has called on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to maintain pipeline the right of way to prevent third party interference.
He made this known on Sunday at the site of a gas leakage from a pipeline said to be operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Elebele, Ogbia local government area of the state.
He lamented that the constant leaks and oil spills have endangered the lives of people as well as the environment and urged the oil companies to properly engage the communities in surveillance and protection of equipment.
“We can see that the place was dug, which means that some vandals tampered with it. You can see not only gas but we saw crude oil there, this is inimical to the environment.
“The whole community can be engaged to ensure that the facilities are protected. The oil company should ensure that the pipelines are properly situated.
“As we are here, we even expect Shell to be here. They should have visited the community by now to ensure that steps to remedy the situation are taken”.
Alagoa also alleged that, staff of the company connive with members of the community to vandalize pipelines; he appealed to them to desist from such harmful activities.
“We have reasonable evidence to present anywhere that Shell Contractors, Field Officers and Supervisors are also part of such vandalism, instigating community people who are as unscrupulous as them to do it and get more money even though they are properly paid and taken care of”.
He further advised the companies to maintain the facilities and carry out integrity checks to ensure that the facilities are not prone to danger or attacks.
Godfrey Profit, the personal assistant to the king of Elebele, David Obolo claimed the leak occurred on Saturday afternoon which was spotted by a tricyclist.
He said the leak was severe and even more dangerous because it was not far from the road and it was easy for the pipeline to be vandalized because of the large bush around the area.
The tricyclist who spotted the leak, Franklin Chiba said a loud noise and smoke he observed made him stop his tricycle thinking his tyre had burst.
He said, by the time he alighted and noticed the gas leakage, he had to quickly leave the area with his passengers as they feared for their lives.
The gas pressure had reduced as at the time of filing this report.