By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
One person was reportedly burnt to death weekend in the deep mangrove creek of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State when suspected oil thieves set ablaze an oil facility belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company NAOC.
The incident, it was learnt, occurred along the creek of Igbomotoru community of the council area, known for its high concentration of illegal refinery camps tucked away in the dense mangrove swamp.
Though the identity of the deceased could not be ascertained, he is believed to be a member of an illegal bunkering and oil theft syndicate in the area.
It was reliably learnt that scores of other oil thieves suffered various degree of burns added that the company had deployed two swamp buggies to the area to contain the raging inferno.
The facility is a delivery trunk line from Ogboinbiri flow station to the company facility in Brass on the Atlantic shore.
Contacted the Media Coordinator of the JTF, Col. Onyenma Nwachukwu, confirmed that there was an explosion in the area,”information reaching us confirmed that there was actually a blast on the NAOC Agip riser.
“The cause has so far been attributed to possible sabotage by some disgruntled elements who have grievances with the operations of oil companies in the area.”
Meanwhile, the elders and youth leaders of the Brass Communities of Twon Brass, Okpoama and Odioma in Bayelsa State has commended the Nigeria Agip Oil Company over the quick response of the company and the immediate to clean up of oil spillage from its pipeline in the area.
A socio-economic group,the Brass League of Friends, weekend confirmed that the oil company, Nigeria Agip Oil Company( NOAC), have commenced the clean- up exercise of affected communities.
The group, in a statement issued by its patron, Hon Israel Sunny- Igoli, stated that a tour of the affected area showed that the officials of Agip have swiftly responded to the report of the spillage along the coastline of Brass.
According to him, “the swift response to the spillage along Brass coastline is an indication that the oil company takes issues of the environment serious.”
Sunny-IGoli who disclosed that youth leaders in the affected communities, officials of Agip, Department of Petroleum Resources and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency( NOSDRA) have also been to the impacted sites expressed optimism that relief materials would be sent to people.
He said, “We want to commend Agip for its swift response to the oil spill. Agip is working on compensation for all impacted communities after the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report is made public.
“The company has also concluded plans to send relief materials to affected people. There is no need for the people to panic because Agip has been able to contain the spill from causing serious damage to the environment.”