By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
A fresh oil spill has reportedly rocked the Egbebiri community, Biseni Kingdom in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
According to Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) field reports, the spill, which was attributed to equipment failure, occurred at Idu Well 11, a facility owned by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
The leak, ERA head in Bayelsa, Comrade Alagoa Morris, noted was noticed last Friday at about 10 pm by residents of the predominantly fishing and farming settlement.
According to the report, “the people of Egbebiri in Biseni kingdom has experienced several oil spills over the years. And all the oil spill incidents documented by the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in this community environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on Wellheads.
“ERA/FoEN has had cause to visit the environment of Idu Well 5 and 11 located within the same place in the past and it has always been Idu Well 11 spewing crude oil into the environment.”
Morris added, “Available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there have been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip.
“These include: 7th January 2012 around 10:00 pm-11:00 pm (this occurred after replacement of some pipelines), spill also occurred on Wednesday, 25th June 2014 and very closely on 22nd October 2018 and on November 4, 2018, before the current incident. All were due to equipment failure.
“Before concluding this Field Report, ERA/FoEN confirmed that Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on Sunday, 9th May 2021. This is why the official Spill Reference No 2021/ LAR/028/058 is indicated in this report; sourced from the JIV report. Cause of spill was attributed to equipment failure.”
Narrating the community experience, an indigene simply identified as Georgie said, NAOC is the owner of this facility, Wells 5 and 11 where the spill happened on the 7th around 10:00 pm till about 8:00 am before they came and tried to stop it. And the level of damage is something terrible.
“You can see the level of damage all over of which we don’t know what to do. But for now, we are calling on relevant agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken so as to prevent the spill from spreading to the water bodies in the environment. You can see all the trees are changing colors.
“So, I am calling on Agip, the Federal and State governments to come to our aid with actions that would enable the environment to regain its natural glory.
“We have bush mango [Irvinga gabonensis], we also have what we call bush rice all over. This is a forest where our people come to earn their living. We have snails and different animals too. But now, as I am saying, the environment is polluted. So, we need an urgent response from NAOC.”