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AGIP facility causes oil spill in Bayelsa rural community

A typical oil spill site in Nigeria's Niger Delta region
A typical oil spill site in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region

NEDU MARK, Yenagoa

Human rights group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has reported an oil spill incident at Osiama oil field operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), in Bayelsa State.

The oil spill at the Osiama field was discovered by field monitors of ERA/FoEN last month while investigating another spill incident.

The field report was signed by the Head of Field Operations of ERA/ FoEN in Bayelsa state, Mr Alagoa Morris.

Morris said during one of the visit by ERA to Ondewari/Okpotuwari environment on Saturday, 18th April, 2015 that the spill by AGIP facility was spotted.

“It was for the purpose of visiting a spill impacted site along Agip’s Tebidabe-Ogboinbiri Flow Line. However, while in the field, ERA’s guides also informed ERA that there was also another fresh oil spill in the area. And so, soon after concluding with the Tebidaba-Ogboinbiri pipeline, ERA was led to the other spill site, some kilometers away.

“This spill under reference occurred at a location opposite the three Oil Wellheads operated by Agip and, across the Ossiama Creek; where the pipeline continued,” ERA/FoEN stated.

The report quoted Omietimi Yeiyei, a hunter at Ondewari community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area as discovering the spill sometime in April 2015.

’’I do hunt with dogs and during one of my hunting expeditions, I noticed someone from a neighbouring community scooping what seemed like crude oil into jerry-can and taken away from the environment. So I decided to investigate and that was how we discovered the spill not long ago. I tried to investigate whether there were signs of fresh diggings in the immediate environment but didn’t find any. That is why we thought the spill must have resulted from equipment failure’’, Yeiyei said

The NGO regretted that officials of the oil firm were yet to take steps to contain the spill several weeks after the spill was reported to them.

ERA/FoEN urged the management of NAOC to promptly investigate the spill and ensure a properly constituted JIT visit the site of interest to formally document the incident.

“Agip should follow up JIV with proper clean-up and, where necessary; compensate victims. The Government should play its protective and supervisory role in the interest of the common good,” ERA/FoEN stated.

Contacted for comment, the Bayelsa state commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, said in a telephone chat that the ministry has received a report of the incident and dispatched its officials to the spill site.

“We got the report and my people are already working on it, they have actually visited the site and are dealing with some issues that surround the spill,” Wills said.

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