Environmentalists wants end to frequent leaks at Agip fields; demands clean-up of oil spills in Tein community, Bayelsa

Environmentalists on Monday called for an end to the frequent oil leaks at the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) oil fields in Tein community, Biseni, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

Newsmen gathered that the environmentalists, under the trade name, Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), made the call in its field report signed by Mr Alagoa Morris, the group’s Head of Field Operations.

The group expressed disapointment that several spills which occurred within the Biseni Asamabiri cluster is yet to be remediated.

The spills are linked to the 14-inch pipeline which evacuates crude from the impacted oilfields to NAOC facility at Obiobio.

The environmental rights group noted that NOAC acted unilaterally, adding that statutory agencies such as the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Ministry of Environment were not invited to witness the fixing of the pipeline.

The group noted that Tein, which is predominantly a community of fishermen and farmers, has been adversely impacted over the years by oil spills caused by equipment failure and without any remedy.

“The operators, NAOC, should ensure that they carry the regulators along, that is why we are here today (Monday).

“When we knew that they were coming again with Swamp Buggy we felt we should follow up on what is happening to the environment.

“We want to join voices with the people that Agip should do the needful by ensuring that the environment, polluted by their crude oil, is properly cleaned up.

“Immediate remediation should be carried out and that is what we are demanding, a sustainable environment for our people, that is what we need,” the report stated.

Also, a community leader, Chief David Obuma, told newsmen that over time the clan had suffered lot of damages from the oil companies, Shell and Agip, as they have never done any perfect clean-up job in their environment.

“When we report any spillage they will say it is sabotage, does it mean that the oil cannot be cleaned.

“They always term any oil spill sabotage meaning somebody must have burst the pipe. Who is the person without a name? We are worried.

“Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, around March, there was a spillage in the 14-inch pipe, beginning from the cluster to Obiobio in Ahoada. Before the people realized what was happening, they (Agip) came with excavators, without even letting the chiefs know that such a thing has happened.

“They covered it up till today, we have written letters to Agip, they have not done anything.

“They have not even come up with any programme but are insisting that it is an economic sabotage and that someone must have tampered with it.

“For us we are not host community, we are the landlords because when you say host community that means you are hosting somebody that can run away at any time; it is not that oil pipe merely passes through our land.

“We are the landlords of Agip and Shell. They should listen to us, do some things to ensure that the environment is not polluted.

“Our concern is if the environment is polluted it is not a matter that concerns only the present generation, the generation yet unborn will suffer the effects of the pollution,’’ he said.

When contacted, Cioni Marililia, Media Relations official at Eni, the Italian parent company of NAOC, declined comment and pledged to come up soon with a response.

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