By Ediri EJOH
THERE are indications that about 18 communities may have to suffer owing to recent spills emanated from the Aghoro and Odimodi communities in Bayelsa and Delta State respectively.
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, had couple of days ago stated that it will immediately begin remediation of areas by oil spills in Aghoro and Odimodi, communities in Bayelsa and Delta respectively.
According to the company, 95 percent of the spilt oil was recovered, saying, “As soon as clean-up and site assessment are completed, we are committed to starting the immediate remediation of the impacted areas in Aghoro and Odimodi”
However, investigation showed that as a result of the spill over 18 neighbourhood communities – Biniboyo, Isiayegbene, Osumayeingbidipou, Igogoamabio, Bemogbene, Itorugbene, Kufabou, Eferesougbene, Boutobo, Obigbene, Iguwa, Obolouya, Boropit,
Kuku-gbene, ikalugbene, indorubou igbeya gbene, okofa gbene kubu and oweiomini gbene – have been affected as their main source of livelihood, including farming and fishing are in jeopardy.
Chairman of Odimodi community, Prebor Edward, who confirmed the development stated, “The spill occurred in April after which the community guards alerted the management of Shell. However, the repair of the pipeline began in August.”
Aggrieved by the incident, a security operative of the pipelines protection force, who pleaded anonymity (afraid of victimization), explained that, “We are very grieved as we are forced to live with such suffering. I believe this could have been averted if necessary things on pipeline maintenance are been put in place.
“As a guard of the pipelines in this community, there has never been any maintenance work done to these pipelines in our communities. As you can see for yourself, these pipelines are very aged. Since it was installed nobody has come to run a check on it that is why you hear of regular spills in the Niger Delta. Of course, one will not do away with sabotage but most pipeline ruptures are company’s negligence and not third party interference as widely propagated.”
However, in a statement sent to Sweetcrude, Shell stated, “It’s characteristic of SPDC, operator of the SPDC JV to carry out pipeline maintenance and integrity check without being prodded. As part of the maintenance and integrity test, we do sectional replacement of pipelines whenever it’s necessary.
“The Odimodi spill is regrettable and our response was as soon as the incident was reported. The response included immediate suspension production into the line, containment of the spill to prevent further spread.
“The Emergency Response and Oil Spill Response teams were immediately activated and JIV constituted to investigate the cause and impact. Clean up was also launched and over 95% of spilled oil has been recovered. We are planning site assessment in September and remediation is planned to start in October.”