Following cases of pollution in some communities in Bayelsa State, some environmentalists have urged Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to remediate areas polluted by oil leak from its facilities in Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State. The environmentalists, under the auspices of the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) SPDC said that the leakage discharged crude into the Ekole River, a tributary of Nun River.
ERA/FoEN’s position was made known yesterday in a field report signed by the Head of Field Operations, Alagoa Morris at the Bayelsa State office of the Non- Governmental Organisation. The group called on SPDC to embark on a comprehensive remediation of the river and the devastated flora and fauna, while preventing fire outbreak at the spill site. According to the group, the incident occurred on March 31 from the SPDC Manifold at Otuokpoti and impacted communities in Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Areas near the bank of Ekole River.
However, the SPDC and the affected communities were still in disagreement over the cause of the spill. These communities, being predominantly fishing and farming communities also dismissed claims by the oil firm that it swiftly mobilised a response team to the impacted site to prevent the spread of crude. Morris, who noted that the peopleof theareashadtheright to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development as enshrined under Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, further advised that the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to be conducted on the incident should be devoid of the usual industry politics of predetermined results forced into the JIV. He said: “Shell should carry out proper clean-up of all impacted environment along the Ekole River and the spill site promptly, no matter the cause of spill. All stakeholders, including community representatives in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) should be given a copy of the signed JIV Report at the site in line with industry practice.”