Fresh Oil Spill From Shell Nigeria Pollutes Okulu River
By Adedapo Adesanya
A fresh oil spill has occurred from a facility operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), polluting the Okulu River in the Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was disclosed that the oil spill became noticeable on Sunday, June 11, on the Okulu River, which runs through several communities in the local government area, including Akpajo, Aleto and Agbonchia, to mention only a few.
It has rendered about 300 registered fishermen unable to do their jobs.
Confirming the development, the chairman of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Obarilomate Ollor, while inspecting the spill site, said preliminary observations showed that the spill was caused by equipment failure.
Mr Ollor, who accused Shell Nigeria of not showing concern so far over the development, called for calm among the affected communities while expressing optimism that the right steps will be taken to restore the environment.
“We have discussed on the phone with the people who are managers of the pipeline in Shell. They are yet to be here; however, whenever they come for a JIV (Joint Investigative Visit), the cause of the spills will be ascertained by them.
“We already know this (spill) is not sabotage, but let them come for a JIV and let’s look at it together and agree on what caused the spill,” he said.
“Our people are aggrieved, the youths are angry, especially those who would have gone fishing today, are all stranded, and they don’t have other jobs because they survive from fishing.
“All the business activities that go on around this river have been shut down because of the oil spill, so it’s a great loss and a bad day for Eleme people. I feel bad, but as a government, we are going to cooperate with the company because this was not pre-planned,” he added.
On its part, the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria) has cautioned against exposing the Ogoni environment to fresh oil spills, especially since HYPREP was already struggling to carry out the clean-up of oil-impacted sites in Ogoniland.
The Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Mr Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, who described the fresh oil spill as one too many, said: “We expected NOSDRA to have determined by now the cause of the spill and the volume through a JIV. If it’s established that the spill is from equipment failure, then Shell should move in quickly to contain the spill, remediate the area and compensate the affected communities.
“Since Shell is divesting from onshore, one would have thought that they would take steps to manage their pipelines which are now bursting like balloons as a resulting obsoleteness from multiple years of operation, without being replaced.
“Shell should ensure that further spills are not happening in the Ogoni area cause it is affecting the people, devastating the ecosystem and contributing to the already polluted environment, which HYPREP is trying to clean up,” he stated.