By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—An oil leak from Seibou Deep facility owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has reportedly polluted Ogboinbiri River in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Though the cause of the leakage could not be immediately ascertained, community sources described the leak as massive.
The worst hit communities include Keme-Ebiama, Apoi, Kokologbene, Gbaruan, Ukubie and Lobia.
It was also learned that several communities along the Ogboinbiri river bank have also been affected with the water current aiding the spread of the spilled crude oil.
Chairman of Community Development Committee, CDC, of Keme-Ebiama, Chief Columbus Johnbull, lamented that the spill had deprived them of their source of potable water.
He said: “This major spill started a long time ago like a small leak but became a serious issue by February 15, at the Seibou 2 facility of Shell in Ogboinbiri. The spill first affected rivers in the Ogboinbiri axis before spreading to other communities. The volume of crude oil was really heavy. It covered the whole of our river.
“It was so devastating that our people could no longer take their bath in the river or fetch drinking water there. Due to the heavy pollution and resultant scarcity of drinking water, the cost of water sachet in the community rose from N10 to N30. Most of our people cannot afford the sachet water at that price.
“We are worried that the situation might have led to the recent outbreak of cholera in some communities in the council.”
He urged the management of SPDC to take responsibility for the incident and dispatch relief materials and medical teams to forestall outbreak of epidemic in the area.
He urged the company to compensate communities and individuals impacted by the oil leak for the losses they incurred as a result of the incident.
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, confirmed the development when contacted and said plans were underway to respond to the challenges faced by the coastal communities.
He said: “We have invited Shell for a meeting to deal with the spill. In the meantime, we urge all parties to do everything necessary to ensure quick containment and clean up.”