Panic as oil spill hits Bayelsa community, residents seek for help
An oil spill has been reported in an oilfield located in Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State said to be owned by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC.
Mr. Maxwell Ikoni, a resident of Okpoama who was at the site, said the spill was reported by a fisherman on Monday when he discovered leakage on the wellhead that has been in existence for decades.
The volume of the spill is not much now, but expected to increase in the coming days, he said.
He hinted that “the well has been dilapidated long ago and the leakage of gas and oil is increasing gradually as we speak.”
Confirming the incident, Engr Seiyefa Felix Ben-Basuo, President of the Okpoama Kingdom Youth Movement called on the NPDC and relevant government bodies to quickly intervene, noting that residents are already being affected by the spillage.
“You know how dangerous such pollutants are to human lives and the environment and we cannot afford to endure this spill for more days.
“Our people are already suffering from ongoing petroleum exploration and exploitation activities in the area, therefore we will not condone pollution caused by a facility that is not in use for now,” he said.
On his part, the Programme Manager, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Comrade Alagoa Morris called for a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to the site, comprising the facility operator, regulators and community representatives and security agencies.
“If the owner of the facility is aware, then the regulators also need to be aware. They should be officially informed by the facility owner or operator. The community should also be on alert to monitor the process.”
When contacted by our reporter, a staff of NPDC who said he was not authorized to speak on the issue revealed that the company is aware of the spill and is preparing to mobilize to the location.
Our reporter could not get a reaction from the Bayelsa State Director of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) while filing this report.