Unknown Men Set Bayelsa Oil Spill Site On Fire | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Unknown Men Set Bayelsa Oil Spill Site On Fire

Posted: Jun 19, 2015 at 6:32 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma  –  Yenagoa

A fresh oil spill which impacted Ossiama, Ogboinbiri, Okpotuwari and neighbouring communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, has allegedly been set on fire by unknown persons.

It was gathered that the fresh oil spill occurred on a pipeline operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in the area.

Although the cause of the recent oil spill could not be ascertained, the fire incident was said to have been discovered by the locals on June 16, 2015.

“The spill site is very close to another spill site that was clamped on April 23, 2015. This is happening when the former spill site of April 2015 is yet to be attended to in terms of clean-up”, a source that pleaded anonymity said on Thursday.

He said a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) conducted on the devastated site indicated that the April 23 incident was caused by equipment failure.

He said since the JIV exercise was conducted neither Agip officials nor the personnel of the regulatory agencies including Ministry of Environment, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had re-visited the impacted site.

According to him, remediation had not also been carried out on the affected environment of the impacted communities.

He said the crude oil slick could spread fast into the surrounding swamps, farms, farmlands, creeks and rivulets in the coming days of the rainy season.There were indications on Thursday that the fear of cholera outbreak and other epidemics had gripped the people of the area.

Acting paramount ruler of Okpotuwari, Moses Tiger, confirmed the recent incident, saying that the community had notified Agip on “this fresh spill but they are yet to visit the site”.

“This fire started on Tuesday (June 16, 2015) evening and is still on today being Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  I can see a thick column of smoke rising from the site.

“Agip should spare us of this environmental destruction by responding promptly to oil spills. The delay in mobilising to spill sites even when the company is duly informed and dragging their feet to clean-up impacted sites is very annoying,” he added.

Reacting on the development, the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) decried the delay by Agip to visit the oil spill site.

Head of ERA’s Bayelsa Office, Alagoa Morris, said in Yenagoa that it was imperative for the oil company to mobilise to the impacted site while the regulatory agencies should rise up to their responsibility.