By Kingsley Braide
The people of Sangana Kingdom in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has written to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), of what they described as incessant oil spills on its pipeline in neighbouring Igbomotoru community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
The letter which was signed by the Community Development Committee Chairman, Comr. Reuben Pereboye and Secretary, Idubamo Koki was addressed to the swamp area manager of the company located at Brass terminal in Twon Brass.
In the letter sighted by our correspondent, they copied the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,.
Also copied were the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), the Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Authority(NESREA), the Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, the Chairman, Brass Local Government Council and Sangana National Council of Chiefs.
The letter explained that over the years, Agip decided to only stop oil spills but deliberately ignoring clean-ups of affected areas or communities neither commencing process of compensation.
The Sangana community alleged that the latest spill occurred around March 3, 2021 and the leakage was finally stopped around march 8, 2021.
They complained that such act of negligence has adversely affected the people as they are faced with both immediate and long term health implications, environmental degradation and uncontrolled loss of aquatic life.
Part of the letter read: “Whenever such spillages occur at Igbomotoru, Sangana faces the most severe effect as the river water naturally flows to the Atlantic ocean through Sangana.
“The reactions and inactions of Agip have made life unbearable as their operations falls below the standards set by the Bayelsa State Government, the federal government of Nigeria and even international laws and so we are demanding Agip to immediately commence clean-up of Sangana community.
“We are also demanding Agip to send relief materials to affected communities that make up Sangana Kingdom including fishing camps and convey a meeting with the kingdom as soon as possible.
“Further more, we urge Agip to alleviate the sufferings of our people by providing scholarships, infrastructural development, employment opportunities, grants to fishermen and those doing businesses and also provide portable drinking water in all villages in Sangana territory for the people not to drink contaminated river water.
“Sangana kingdom are calling on all relevant agencies of state and federal government to swing into the matter and act quickly to save our people from peril”.