Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has expressed displeasure with AITEO Oil Exploration and Production Company over its failure to curtail the oil spill at Santa Barbra Well 1 OML 29 weeks after it started. According to a statement by the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba in Yenagoa, the governor was disappointed that AITEO has neglected to take any concrete step since the November 5, 2021 equipment failure was reported to it. Diri wondered why the massive spill has continued unabated, leading to extensive pollution of the rivers, waterways and farmland in Nembe Local Government Area, even when the company management is aware of the situation.
He said: “Governor Douye Diri is gravely concerned that if the high volume of crude being spill continuously is not stopped immediately, it will spread to many more communities and undermine the economic life of residence who are predominantly farmers and fishermen.” The Bayelsa State Spokesperson added: “the governor is particularly disappointed that the management of AITEO has continued to play the ostrich and is yet to shot-in its failed facilities.” The governor was quoted to have warned that: “AITEO should not assume that this criminal neglect of its facilities and disregard for human life and the environment, as demonstrated by its conduct, will not be accounted for.” Governor Douye Diri has therefore asked the oil multinational to be prepared for the consequences of its failure, because the government will not stand by and watch AITEO put human and aquatic lives and the environment in jeopardy.”
He, however, advised residents to be law abiding and remain peaceful, assuring them of government’s commitment to their wellbeing at all times The oil firm had reported a leak from an oil well at its Santa Barbra South field within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 on Nov 5 but community sources claimed that the leak was noticed on Nov 1. Meanwhile, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency says it has authorised the deployment of oil spill response team from other oil firms in the country to assist in recovery of spilled crude to mitigate impact on the environment. Idris Musa Director-General of NOSDRA who had earlier said that personnel deployed to investigate the incident could not commence work until the leak was plugged. said that the leak was yet to be stopped.