BAYELSA, Nigeria – Some riverine residents of Ikebiri Kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have lamented the fresh oil spills in the community from the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC/ENI) pipeline.
OgeneAfrican gathered that the latest spill which reportedly happened in June is the third in 10 years, with a five-year interval from 2010, 2015 and in 2020.
According to Chief, Uroupatei Igoli, at Ikebiri, Boloukubu [special bush] where this spill occurred is where we go often to set our fish traps and nets for our livelihood and from which we take care of our children’s education and feed the family.
”This oil spill has affected the aquatic lives, killing all the fish in the swamp and river. We are left with nothing, as we no longer catch fish even if you go to the swamp or river to fish. Those who picked and brought dead fish from the impacted environment to the community and ate all had health problems and some even died. We are suffering from related illnesses.
In her brief, the Woman leader of Ikebiri 2, Seimieghe Matthew, said “There is a particular bush identified by our people as Boloukubu and currently there is an oil spill from a pipeline and since the incident happened, I have received several complaints from the women folks in the community”
“Again, due to the connecting rivulets to the river, the crude oil has also spread to affect the river and denied us our main source of drinking water.
Another resident, Chief Kemeoyatei Festus, said the community has lost eight persons because of the oil spill.
”I am talking about; six from this compound and the other deaths occurred in other compounds in the community. Even when you go into the bush with your canoe and return home through the river unless you turn the canoe upside down and scrub the body with soap; the crude oil would remain on the body of the canoe. The same with your paddle, it would be soiled with crude oil.