- Agip Oil Spill Destroys Farmlands, Acquatic Life in Bayelsa
Residents of communities in Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Councils of Bayelsa State have raised alarm over destruction caused to their farmlands and waterways by an oil spill allegedly from the Nigerian Agip Oil Company field.
Part of the Yenagoa River, Ekole Creek and adjourning rivulets crisscrossing Azikoro, Agbura communities in Yenagoa Council and Otuokpoti, Otuogidi and Otuogori in Ogbia Council were the worst hit.
Community sources said yesterday that they noticed the leak two weeks ago.
Crude oil sheen from the spillage measuring about five centimeters thick has been floating on the surface of the water, attracting residents, who tried to scoop the substance.
One of the residents of Otuokpoti community, Cecilia Osain, said the spillage had prevented fishing activities in the river.
She said those who went fishing returned home with no catch as the stench of the spilled crude oil had driven away fishes, crayfish and shrimps.
Osain, who confessed to joining them in scooping the crude, however, said bathing in the river, was no longer safe for residents, adding that the community relied on the creek for drinking water and domestic use.
The Otuokpoti community has appealed to the state government to provide relief materials for the people.
The paramount ruler, Cousin Wongo and the Community Development Committee chairman, Simpson Isikpi stated that the spillage had polluted the entire river, foiling economic activities.
“We cannot drink water. We cannot bathe in the river, our aquatic life involving fish and animals is dying. We appeal to the relevant authorities to come to our aid,” the letter reads in part.
Also, the Ogbia Brotherhood, a socio-cultural organisation for the community, called on Agip to deploy a team of its technical personnel to clean up their water.
Lamawal Wilfred, spokesman of the group, urged the oil company to prevent further pollution of the river, which serves as their major source of livelihood.
Efforts to get the reaction of NAOC proved abortive as its officials including Filippo Cotalinni, Media Relations Manager at Eni, parent company of NAOC, did not respond to enquiries at press time.