Residents of Kalaba community, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, on Sunday reported five fresh oil spill points along Agip’s oil pipeline in the area.
The new spills come even as another one last week remains unresolved. That spill, in Ogboinbiri in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, forced residents from the area.
Three of the new spills reported today are currently discharging oil into the environment while two are discharging a mixture of crude and gas.Members of the community attribute the frequent spills in the area to the activities of oil thieves who sabotage the pipelines to steal oil.
Olukali Roman, an elder of the community impacted by the latest incident, explained that the menace would have been contained if the oil firm worked with the communities in warding off strangers from the pipeline right of way. He said the company kept the community at bay, leaving them unable to report strange movements around the pipelines.
“We are really disturbed about the effect of these spills and on our own we want to cooperate to solve this problem but Agip does not want to come here and reason with us,” he said, stressing that the company, despite the size of its operation in Bayelsa, has no presence whatsoever in the area..
“They often come here to fix the leaks, they do not even tell us and they leave the area before we know that they are around,” Olukali added.
Meanwhile as officials of the oil firm remain unconcerned with the ongoing environmental damage accompanying its operations, Agip spokesman Tajudeen Adigun declined comments when he was contacted by phone, directing further inquiries to the Managing Director of the firm in Abuja.