The people of Okpoama Community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have reported an oil spillage at an oilfield operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
A community spokesman said the pollution was causing untold hardship to the predominantly fishing population in the community.
The spokesman, Chief Inikio Sele-Dede, who is also Chairman of Okpoama Kingdom, Chiefs’ Council raised the alarm in an interview with the The Tide recently in Yenagoa.
He described the community as where the Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva hails from, saying that youths in the community were being restrained from resorting to violence.
He disclosed that youths had threatened to attack the Agip CudenTerminal in Brass over the leakage, which occurred along the 243 Ogoda-Brass Trunk line operated by NAOC at Ikuiku, near Ewoama-Brass in Bayelsa.
.Sele-Dede explained that the spill, the second in the area since last May was discovered on Oct. 8 and that it had continued to discharge crude into the creeks and damaging the environment.
He lamented that the leaking oil had spread to Fantuo, Canus Kiri Okpongbokiri, Inibomoye Kiri, Alafurughakiri and Inengigha kiri because of tidal currents.
The community leader said however, that officials of NAOC had visited the scene of the spill but were not able to stop the flow.
“In May this year we had a similar incident not far from the present spill site.
“In this case, just like the previous case, Agip officials came secretly to attempt to stop the leakage but were overwhelmed by the pressure.
“You can imagine the quantum of oil that has gone into the creeks given the number of days of leakage from Oct. 8.”
Sele-Dede described Ikuiku community as an area where women go to harvest periwinkles, adding that people no longer go to the area to fish because of pollution.
“I clearly understand the anger of the youths because the company which provides power in the community has not provided power to the community in recent times.”
Sele-Dede pleaded with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency to intervene in the management of the spill.
When contacted on the development, Eni, the parent company of NAOC in a statement, confirmed the spillage but regretted that its response had been hampered by denial of access by host communities.
“Preliminary findings show that the event is a minor spill, estimated in less than two barrels and containment measures have been deployed.
“However, community disturbances linked to issues of land ownership involving multiple communities have been delaying our access to the area.
“Regulators and authorities have been duly informed and we are continuing to engage the community to get access to the area,” said Eni management.
Stakeholder Applauds Buhari’s Directive On Audit Of HYPREP’s Accounts
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has applauded the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari on the audit of the accounts of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
Uyi Ojo, the Executive Director of the foremost environmental civil organisation, gave the applause at the official presentation of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment report and HYPREP’s performance scorecard to newsmen and members of its affiliates in Benin.
The Tide source reports HYPREP is an agency charged with the clean-up of Ogoniland and the Niger Delta States since its inception in 2016.
Uyi urged the president never to allow the directive to go the way of a similar one ordered into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This audit, he said, was currently in a long-drawn-out process on the work of the commission.
The executive director noted that apart from the accounts, an audit of the cleanup and remediation work carried out under the project should also be conducted by an independent body.
According to him, if the Nigerian government, the Ogoni people and partners are going to request the international community to support the continuation of the project, there must be transparency and accountability in the way the initial $1billion fund was utilised.
“The payment of $1 billion was for cleanup and remediation in the first five years in a cleanup that will last 25-30 years.
“The agreement between the Federal Government and Shell Petroleum Development on one hand, and the Ogoni community on the other hand, was for the contributing stakeholders to pay $200 million yearly for the initial five years.
“But for four years after the project was launched, only $360 million has been paid as confirmed by the NNPC during a public hearing at the House of Representatives in Abuja in 2020.
“There is no update on whether further transfers had been made for 2021 and 2022,’’ he said.
World Lion Day: ‘Nigeria’s Lions On Verge Of Extinction’
WildAid says Nigeria lions are on the verge of extinction. This is contained in a statement signed by Kelechukwu Iruoma, WildAid Representative in Nigeria and made available to The Tide source in Lagos.
WildAid said that it launched a weeklong campaign to raise awareness about the threats facing Nigeria’s lions to mark World Lion Day.
WildAid said that over the last 50 years, the number of wild lions across Africa had plummeted from 200,000 to roughly 20,000.
“The crisis is most acute in West Africa, where there are only about 400 lions left, surviving in a few small isolated clusters.
“In Nigeria, lions are on the verge of extinction, with scientists estimating that there may be fewer than 50 adult lions left in the wild.
“In the past, lions roamed northern Nigeria in large numbers, primarily residing in the Kainji Lake National Park and the Yankari Game Reserve in northern Nigeria,” WildAid said.
The statement quoted Simon Denver, Senior African Representative for WildAid as saying:
“Hunting for bush meat has seriously depleted lions’ natural prey base, while population growth and the expansion of agricultural land has badly eaten into their habitats.
“Lions in Nigeria and across West Africa need urgent help to prevent them from disappearing forever.”
Denver said that the intense pressures on lions’ natural prey caused by bush meat trade and the erosion of their habitats often force them to kill cattle for food.
According to him, the phenomenon brings lions into conflict with humans, who kill lions in retaliation, sometimes using poison.
He said that snares and traps set by bush meat hunters also often inadvertently cught lions and other predators.
“Lion populations in East and Southern Africa are feeling the same pressures – even in Tanzania, which is considered to be the stronghold of Africa’s remaining lions.
“Tanzania has the largest population of lions in Africa with about 8,000 animals left in the wild.
“They provide an important draw for Tanzania’s tourism industry, which generates around 1.5 million jobs and contributes around 17 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
‘Njemanje Refuse Dump, No Longer A Threat’
A member of the Port Harcourt City Environmental Sanitation Committee, Mr. Blessing Dickson Tiko, says the Njemanje refuse dump site is no longer a threat to residents of Diobu and its environs.
Tiko said this in an exclusive interview with The Tide in port Harcourt.
He also said the dump site was borne out of the need to have an alternative place for the dumping of refuse following the shutting down of refuse dumps by the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RiWAMA) few months ago.
According to him,”you will agree with me that Port Harcourt has been clean except that few months ago, we had problem with RIWAMA and by God’s grace today Port Harcourt is clean”
Tiko said the problem was not peculiar to Port Harcourt City alone as even sister Local Government of Obio/Akpor suffered similar fate.
“It is not only Port Harcourt City per see at that time, many dumps were shut and Njemanje was the only dump existing and it helps in no small measures in terms of refuse disposal.
He said the dumpsite had been shut down following complaints from various quarters.
“However we know the community complained. The Nation newspaper complained. The Tide Newspaper complained, the Mayor we have is a listening Mayor, so, when he heard the complaints, there was noting to do than to shut down the place, ”he said.
Tiko said the council has acquired a new dump site at Igwuruta.
He commended the Mayor of the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Sir Alwell Ihunda for his commitment towards keeping Port Harcourt City clean.
Tiko said the council was also leaving no stone unturned to ensure that markets through out the city were kept clean always.
“I think the Thursday sanitation exercise comprises the markets, shops and motor parks ,but they are not following it up, it is an enforcement issue.
“People need to take it seriously but there is no seriousness in it and the government had to do something about it because it is the only time we see people bring out dirt especially in Diobu axis”.
He said also said DIOBU axis of the city generates more refuse than other parts because it population density
Tiki also advised that the monthly enviromental sanitation exercise be revive ,while dumping of refuse on road median be discouraged.
By: John Bibor
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