Monarch, indigenes count losses as oil leak devastates Bayelsa community

The people of Kalaba community in Bayelsa have continued to count their losses over negative impact of oil spillage as a result of leakage from Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) facility, that has dealt adversely on their farmlands, the ecosystem and both aquatic and economic life in the area.

The people of the area, particularly worried and angered over NAOC’s delay in embarking on thorough clean up exercise to contain the spill that has continued to spread like wildfire, have bemoaned the multiplier effect of the oil leak from Agip’s oil field in the area.

The leak, according to residents, was discovered in the area in August and is currently spilling crude spreading fast to the swamps and forest, bringing the ecosystem in the community under threat.

The inhabitants of Kalaba community, Yenagoa Local Government Area, lamented that over a month after the spill occurred, it had yet to be contained, and the environment was yet to be remediated.

They appealed to the government and relevant authorities to prevail on NAOC to halt the spill and carry out remediation on the site.

Chief Roman Orukali, paramount ruler of the community, said on Wednesday that though officials of the company visited the area, the spill had yet to be put under control.

“Agip came to the site on August 5, though they have yet to reach the area because of water, but up till now, the oil is still bubbling and it is heading into the swamp.

“That is one of the fishing swamps we have and if not cleaned up in time, it will affect us adversely.

“They don’t attend to spill on time, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to prevail on the company to return to the spill site in time and make the necessary clean up and remediation”, he said

The youth leader of the community, Mr Samuel Opuro, said aquatic and farming activities were worst hit by the spills.

“When it got to my notice, it was on the 2nd of August and I am very sure that the spills happened even before then.

Mr Alagoa Morris, a renowned Environmental Right Activist/Friend of the Earth (ERA/FoN), called on the multinational oil firm to take urgent steps to clamp the spill in order to avert imminent danger.

“This is rainy season; the spill will impact the surrounding swamp. This is when swamp time fishing activities take place and with the spill, that is affected because it is spreading within the surrounding swamps.

“That is why we are very much concerned, because the more the spill, the more the water takes it far away from the very spill point”, Morris said.

The Environmental rights activist, however, urged the community to promptly report incidents of oil spills in their areas to ensure timely clean up.

The Management of Eni, Italian energy firm and parent company of NAOC decline comments on the development when contacted.