BY Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—A fresh oil spill has again hit Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, with natives calling on the Federal Government and environmental protection agencies to come to their aid and prevent a possible outbreak of epidemic in the area due to the pollution of their sources of drinking water.
The latest spill, which is reportedly spewing from well 17 of Nembe 1 flow station belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company, close to the fishing settlement in the community, was discovered in the early hours of Tuesday.
Fishermen in the area, it was learnt, had stopped fishing activities to avoid the sale and consumption of contaminated sea foods.
A statement on the spill in the Kingdom, by the Chief Nengi James-led Nembe Oil and Gas Committee, said the oil wells and crude trunklines of Shell and Agip Nigeria Plc in the area had contributed to no fewer than 10 devastating cases of spills recorded in the last 12 months.
The leadership of the area had been mobilised to the site of the spillage, while a helicopter conveying the company workers to the flow station, ostensibly to contain the spill, was also reportedly sighted in the area.
Chief James, who confirmed the development, expressed concern over the incessant spills from Shell and Agip facilities along the waterways and creeks of Nembe Kingdom.
He said: “The situation in the kingdom is devastating and spills have destroyed the economic life of the people. The latest spillage was discovered in the early hours of Tuesday and the Oil and Gas Committee has inspected the incident which had caused severe damage to the mangrove.”
He expressed concern over the fear of possible outbreak of epidemic due to the pollution of drinking water in the kingdom by the spills.
“Our water has become poisonous and the people now rely on the community wells. We need an assessment of the waters in the area.”
He lamented that the protection agencies had in the past allowed the oil multinationals escape sanction and payment of compensation due to the over reliance on data supplied to them on clean-ups by the companies, which are the ones spilling crude oil and damaging the kingdom.