A fresh crude oil spill has been reported at the swamp area of South Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The latest spill which occurred on Saturday, December 12, came at a time when the people of the community had yet to recover from the impact of the May/June 2020 oil spill incident, which flooded their swamps and river.
Though the cause of the spill could not be immediately ascertained, a grassroots organisation with trusted community contacts; Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria ERA/FoEN said it was duly informed about the incident Sunday afternoon.
The ERA/FoEN’s Project Director in Bayelsa State, Alagoa Morris quoted a community person as saying, “l am currently reaching out to you from Ogboinbiri community. I think we currently have a situation that will interest you now. Just yesterday (Saturday), another spillage occurred in the community. It happened on a wellhead.
“The gushing (of crude oil) has stopped, but I just can’t tell when it started. I only met the situation when I was coming back from a function in a nearby village. I met the situation when the company was trying to remedy the situation. Even at that, as of today, the spread of the oil is felt everywhere on the river.”
Another source which spoke to ERA/FoEN said, “l heard it happened but clean up was done immediately with detergent.
“They said the army with gunboat was used to seal up the area and asked people to stay clear. Yes confirmed, it occurred on Well 7 at the cluster entrance.”
While commending the facility owner, Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) for his prompt reaction, Morris said the incident was supposed to be officially made known to the regulators by the oil industry operators.
“It is also known that sometimes operators fail to inform the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and State ministries of Environment. This might not be an exception, judging from the observed and alleged swift response with detergent.
“From video clip and photos at ERA/FoEN disposal, made available by community contacts; the river still had traces of crude oil this afternoon and, the spewing crude oil from the wellhead was with high pressure; as at when it was captured yesterday.
“Also, Agip should do a proper cleanup, give relief materials and where necessary, compensate victims of the company’s operations.”