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Oil spill hits Bayelsa community

Charred environment, Photo: ERA/FoEN

A fresh oil spill has been reported at a facility operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company around Ogboinbiri, in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The oil leakage, which occurred on October 17 at the NAOC Wellhead 9, was reportedly caused by equipment failure and affected Ogboinbiri and neighbouring communities in the area.

A field report released in Yenagoa by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said the incident “sprayed crude oil into the environment in gaseous form.”

The report signed by Project Officer/Head of ERA Niger Delta Resource Centre, Yenagoa, Alagoa Morris, noted that a similar incident had happened around some of the oil firm’s wellheads in the area about one year ago.

The recent incident occurred on the wellhead operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company in a marine environment, very visible from the community and commuters on the Apoi Creek; a short distance from the community.

According to the report, ERA/FoEN had reported a similar incident on these wellheads (three) about a year ago. And these spills, which are due to equipment failure, impact the one-way flowing Apoi Creek, affecting the Ogboinbiri community and downstream communities like Keme-Ebiama and others, all in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The environmental rights organisation called on the National Oil Spill Detection Agency to take steps to ensure that “these reoccurring equipment failure incidents from Agip facilities within Ogboinbiri community environment do not continue without serious penalties against the company.”

The youth president of Ogboinbiri, Clinton Oseke, confirmed the oil spill.

He said the oil Spill occurred as a result of equipment failure. The company officials finally put it out, but the water of the creek and air we breathe were affected.

He explained that while crude oil spread downstream, the fumes in the air lasted for several hours in the community environment causing discomfort to residents.