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Stakeholders, fishing union lament as oil spills wreak havoc on Niger Delta

The adverse effect of oil exploration in the Niger Delta region is better imagined than experienced. It has been like that since the advent of oil exploration from 1956 till date. That is about 65 years of dehumanisation of the region by the powers that be in conjunction with the international oil companies.

The people of the region especially those at the creeks are really in deep shit considering the environmental hazards that confront them on daily basis. Sometimes one wonders how they are still alive despite all the health, environmental, mental, emotional torture they go through just because of this black gold which has literarily turned them to beggars instead of givers. All these pains are caused by the international oil companies that are not domiciled in the region even when they were given a matching order some four years ago by the vice president of the country Yemi Osinbajo who visited the region that time to relocate to the region.

All that was a fluke as those companies were yet to relocate to this region. All have their head offices in Lagos state a state that is far away from the territory of the oil exploration. Incidentally the state that is not feeling the negative impact caused by the oil exploration and exploitation gets all the taxes paid by these companies a big disservice to the region. Lagos is said to make about N42 billion on monthly bases as internally generated revenue. How much then does the oil companies generate as revenue as part of that monthly revenue.

Your guess is as good as mine. Almost all the oil blocks are owned by outsiders of the state, including consolidated oil limited which is an indigenous oil company owned by Michael Adenuga a Nigerian which is presently spilling gas into the atmosphere of Sangana community in Brass local government area of Bayelsa State. Simultaneously, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company operating OML-29 Well 1 another indigenous oil company also owned by Benedict Peters another Nigerian was also releasing gas into the Opu Nembe environment. The oil spill started on November 1st, 2021 and was yet to be stopped at the time of filling in this report.

And for the people of Sanagana, being helpless after the rig spilled gas substance into the atmosphere, the community people mobilised themselves, paid their way to Yenagoa almost thirty of them defiling the high cost of water transportation and the level of insecurity on the water ways came from Sangana to seek solution haven waited for Conoil in vain. In a protest/press briefing held recently in Yenagoa, the people called on the relevant authorities to come to their aid as they said a gas leak from Conoil which occurred on 31st of October, 2021 was posing a serious threat to their lives.

The Chairman of Sangana fish ing union Ikomikumo Noel who led the delegation said that the gas leak has rendered the community homeless while most of the community members who live along the rig owned by Conoil have relocated to a safer places while some have ran to Yenagoa. Narrating their ordeal, the chairman said that there was also a major gas leak 2017 there was also gas leak from coin oil facility which the fishermen he said quickly mobilized themselves and rescued everybody at the rig. Disclosing that there was no vessel insight to rescue people that day, he said, “We mobilized our team of local fire fighters from the community.

They went and shut down the fire from Conoil regretting that after that, Conoil pretended as if they didn’t do anything. Noel continued “They didn’t pay compensation. They didn’t do anything. Yet on September 3, 2020, there was another gas leak. Our fishermen went there to stop the fire but they couldn’t do it. “Now anytime you go there, there is always spill and all the fishes have died. There is no way we as fishermen can cope. They continuously constitute nuisance in the oil field. Their aunty Julie is still spilling oil there anytime you go there. It is a continuous spill that happens in Conoil field every day. “Yet on 31st October 2021, another one happened. As we speak I don’t know when I will die because if you see what is happening in the sea, you will have pity for us.

The gas is flowing directly to the community, flowing into the sea and killing aquatic animals. Fishes are dying in their numbers. Every day, we are picking fish. “We are afraid and we are telling our children not to pick gain. Gas is still leaking as we speak. The community is not safe. We are in danger.

Help us relay this message to everywhere that the Sangana man is not safe. The fishermen are not safe. “Nobody is safe in the community. Most of our members because of the pressure coming from the leakage, they ran out of the community. Most of our people are now in the neighbouring community because they don’t know the next step the gas leakage will take.

“Let them come and shut done the gas and give us relief materials. Treat our territory and the air, give us medical treatment and possibly clean up the environment. Our fishing materials are all gone. If the gas touches the fishing material, that material is gone. The engine we are using most of them are gone because the gas gets into the engine, the engine is gone. The water we are drinking is completely polluted.

“Human beings cannot drink the water that we are drinking. The rain is the worst. Sangana is having a problem as we speak. The Federal Government should intervene in what is happening in Sangana. Also Imomotimi Agada, secretary Sangana Fishing Union, said “We have been passing through some difficulties as fishermen of the community.

The gas spillage has been occurring and we have been inhaling this gas that has been causing sickness in our bodies. “Consolidated oil limited operating in Sangana territory bringing a rig to drill crude oil, as I speak to you, there is no human being in that rig.

That is to show that there is a problem in the oil field. The fisher men that are fishing around sea have been using that fishing to sustain fishthemselves and train their children in school. Now there is no way for them to fish. There is no living fish in that river anymore because the waters of Sangana territory have been polluted. “As I speak to you, the water we drink is highly polluted because the rig is not far from the community. It is about three kilometers. So we inhale the gas. We are appealing to the public and the common men to intervene so that we will have these issues treated amicably.

“As we speak most of our community people have left the community. They have been taken to Yenagoa for treatment. Conoil has refused to say anything concerning what is happening at Sangana territory. They refused to send relief materials. They refused to send aids to see whether the people are suffering from that gas explosion or not. “We are very tired that we have to leave Sangana and come to Yenagoa to lay our complains to the media that will help us catapult this message to the whole world so that conoil will come down and meet with fishermen and the community leaders to sort out this issue.

“There is no way we can survive because there is no food. No fish in the river. So don’t have anything. Our people are starving. We need food and medical treatment. We need water because there is no way to live under that gas. “We are appealing to the government to send people expatriates from all over the world to gather in that oil field to shut down that gas explosion.

As I speak to you, the gas leak is still on. The fisherman and the community people who survive from the ocean are no longer comfortable with what is happening. There is no way for them to go to the fishing because all the fishes are dead. “We are appealing to the media, the state government, the federal government, and other parties for an intervention to hold Conoil to ransom so that they will come and settle the Sagana people, the neighbouring communities and the fishing union.”

 

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