ERA/FoEN Faults Report on Bayelsa Oil Spill | Independent Newspapers Limited
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ERA/FoEN Faults Report on Bayelsa Oil Spill

Posted: Apr 28, 2015 at 12:16 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma, Yenagoa


The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has faulted the report of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the recent massive oil spill at the Kolo Creek manifold in Otuasega, Bayelsa State, belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

It has therefore called for a fresh JIV conduct on impacted areas.

ERA/FoEN, in its field report on the incident released Monday in Yenagoa, raised the alarm that the JIV report did not capture all impacted sites around the facility.

In the report signed by its Head of Field Operations in Bayelsa, Alagoa Morris, the group noted that the report excluded several plantain and banana plantations, fishponds and farmlands damaged by the spill.

“There is the urgent need for all stakeholders to return to the impacted environment to reappraise and re-document the JIV Report; especially as it relates to volume of spilt crude, spread and impacts.

“ ERA is calling for a fresh JIV.

“The regulatory agencies; especially the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, should take all necessary steps to reinvestigate this matter which is of common communal interest.

“In line with the polluter pays principle; Shell should be prepared to compensate victims of this major spill. The time oil companies hide under the sabotage clause to escape liability should be over.

“This should be legally challenged as Shell ought to have a CCTV within the Manifold environment to monitor movements around the facility,” ERA/FoEN added.

The environmental rights organisation urged victims of the spill in Otuasega community to maintain a peaceful disposition while seeking redress from Shell.

Reacting to the development, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Inuro Wills, said the state government would verify the reported exclusion of impacted sites.

“We have to look the information and verify it and if it is true that the impacted area was larger than what was originally captured, we shall find a way of addressing these concerns.

“All parties have a duty to make sure that they are included, nobody can hide under the cover of technicalities to say that a fact that is reality will not be captured.

“We have to look at it and address it one way or the other even if it means paying another visit, another JIV to expand the scope, we cannot leave those people outside the net of justice,” Wills said.

Shell had claimed that the JIV conducted on April 16, 2015, a day after the incident occurred, discovered that the oil leak discharged some 27 barrels of crude oil blend in the environment.

In a statement by its spokesperson in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Joseph Obari, the company pointed to the JIV showing that the spill was caused by sabotage.

According to Shell, the “report of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) at the Kolo Creek Manifold spill which occurred on April 15, 2015 has attributed the leak to sabotage of the facility.

“The investigation team, which visited the site on April 16, found that unknown persons had cut out a section of the metal protection to the manifold, removed components of the pressure control system and opened the isolation valves.

“It resulted to a spill. The volume of spilled oil was estimated at 27 barrels, affecting mainly the manifold grounds and part of the surrounding vegetation,” the company said.