Bayelsa communities groan as oil spills pollute environment

Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

Residents of Ogbia and Yenagoa communities in Bayelsa State have expressed concern over the “massive” oil spills that have polluted their environment.

It was learnt that the spills occurred on Wednesday at Ekole Creek in the Yenagoa Local Government Area and Otuokpoti community in the Ogbia area of the state.

The residents claimed the spills from an oilfield, reportedly operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, destroyed farmlands and aquatic lives in the communities.

A resident of Otuokpoti community, Mrs. Cecilia Osain, said the spills had adversely affected fishing activities.

She said that the spilled oil had forced fishes, crayfish and shrimps into the high seas beyond the reach of fishermen.

She also said that before the spill, the community had relied on the creek for potable water and water for domestic use.

 Otuokpoti community appealed to the Bayelsa State Government for relief materials to ameliorate their plight.

In a letter signed by their paramount ruler, Chief Cousin Wongo; and Chairman, Community Development Committee, Mr. Simpson Isikpi, the community noted that the spill polluted the river within the community and impacted negatively on the economic activities of the people.

“We cannot drink water, we cannot bathe in the river, fishes and animals are dying. We appeal to the relevant authorities to come to our aid,” the letter read in part.

Speaking in the same vein, the spokesperson for the youth wing of the Ogbia Brotherhood, Mr. Lamawal Wilfred, called on operators of the affected pipeline to prevent further pollution of the river, which serves as their major source of water.

Officials of Agip declined comments when contacted for comments.

The Media Relations Manager at Eni, a parent company of Agip, Mr. Filippo Cotalinni, has yet to respond to the request for comments on the pollution.

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