ERA/FoEN wants FG to end setting of oil spill sites on fire in the name of cleanup

ENVIRONMENTAL Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Federal Government (FG) to urgently see to the end of the practice of setting oil spill sites on fire in the name of cleanup and remediation.

ERA/FoEN made the call in a report titled, “Negative Practice Of Setting Spill Sites Ablaze, One Too Many.”

The report is a result of ERA/FoEN’s visit in November to two communities, Ondewari and Okpotuwari, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

According to the report, the two communities are “settled opposite each other along the Ossiama Creek. Not only sharing common boundaries, these communities have also shared same negative impacts from oil industry induced pollution, especially from the Ogboinbiri/Tebidaba pipeline of Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC] over the years.”

The report added that “the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN] has visited several oil spill impacted sites within this environment and documented same.

“While some of the spill incidents are officially declared on Joint Investigation Visit [JIV] Reports as caused by third party, ERA/FoEN is also aware that a good number of the JIV Reports indicated some of the spills incidents to have occurred as a result of equipment failure.

“However, instead of proper cleanup and remediation of oil spill impacted sites, the negative practice of setting ablaze of such environment in the name of cleanup or whatever; is the crux of this field report.

“This recent one in Ondewari and Okpotuwari environment has become one too many associated with Agip.”

The ERA/FoEN report states that the practice of setting oil spill sites on fire in the Niger Delta has been going on for a long time.

The ERA/FoEN report cited a field report of March, 15, 2008 stating that: “On page 191 of the Book: Knee Deep In Crude [Volume Two], Edited by Nnimmo Bassey, a compilation of Environmental Field Reports by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria; published in 2009, we have this testimony ‘And instead of coming to immediately clean up the spill, Agip requested the youths to set fire on the spill to conceal it. But that has caused us more losses. Trees and other farm crops have been damaged in the process’ said one Chief Franel Akenika, paramount ruler of Lasukgbene, Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State.”

The practice has been called “environmental injustice” by ERA/FoEN. The body has demanded that: the Federal Government should look seriously into this and other related matter with the urgency it deserves.

ERA/FoEN also demands that the “Nigerian Agip Oil Company/Eni should take full responsibility and go to the impacted environment and embark on proper cleanup and remediation.

It added that the “Bayelsa State Government should take appropriate steps to make sure nothing less that Proper Cleanup and Remediation of the impacted environment is done by Agip.

“National Assembly members from Bayelsa State should take up this matter and treat appropriately.”

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FG to end setting of oil spill sites on fire |

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