Farming and fishing settlement of Yiba ama (formerly known as Oruma) in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has been reportedly impacted by massive crude oil spill from a nearby facility in neighbouring Rivers State. Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), in a field report made available to newsmen in Yenagoa traced the pollution to a Shell Petroleum Development Company facility at Odua, a boundary community in Abua/Odual local government area of Rivers State. Though the exact date of the spill was not specified, the report nonetheless stated that the floating crude which was noticed last Monday may have occurred earlier during the dry season but now spreading to the Yiba-ama due to the rising water level.
ERA/FoEN in the report signed by Comrade Alagoa Morris and Akpotu Ziworitin said “although pipeline belonging to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) also runs through the environment side by side with that of SPDC; that of NAOC conveys only gas. This means the source is traceable to SPDC facility.” According to an indigene, Churchill Efanga, “what we saw in the field as we went round, is a spill that occurred from Odua in Rivers State, Abua/Odual local government. This is not the first time we are experiencing such. When it occurs in that environment it spreads into our environment to damage our crops and aquatic lives our people depends on. “This is often aided by the rising level of rain water (flood). And, unless something is done urgently to contain the situation; with the rain more volumes of crude oil will spread to our environment. So, they should do something very fast now.
“If they need to boom it they should come and do it immediately to prevent further spread. The mantra now is that everybody should go
into farming. How can we farm with oil spills every now and then in the environment? On when the spill occurred, he said: “The thing is that there have been other spills during the dry season. It is the rain (flood) that is causing it to spread to our area now. It (this one) occurred in the dry season and they did the clamping then. “But instead of cleanup they set fire on the impacted site. They must have thought the fire has consumed the crude oil. But now, it is as if there is a fresh oil spill there. What I know is that it is flowing from Rivers State and what I’m after is I want to save my state, local government and my environment. That is what I am after. We should be free from hydrocarbon pollution. Our swamps are seriously affected, especially aquatic lives. Facility owners should take urgent steps to prevent further spread of crude oil to our environment.”
The report added: “records available to ERA/FoEN indicate that this makes the second time within six years when such alarm of crude oil spread from neighbouring Odua community has been raised by the people of Yiba-ama. A Joint Investigation Visit ([JIV) report with incidence number 1413753 and JIV Serial Number 0000026 in 2015 shows that a spill occurred at Odua along Shell’s 20’’ KoloCreek-Runuekpe pipeline. The date of that incident was recorded on the JIV report as 2nd June, 2015. And, the people of Yiba-ama raised alarm by reaching out to ERA/FoEN on 18 th June, 2015 about the spread of crude oil into their environment from Odua. Then too, ERA/FoEN promptly mobilised to site the next day, 19th June, 2015 and actually witnessed crude oil flooded swamps in Yiba-ama environment.”