Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Residents and indigenes of Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State have lamented the continuous crude oil spillages in their communities from alleged faulty facilities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
THISDAY visit to the affected areas yesterday, observed that between August 3rd and 31st this year, there had been four spills from the Trans Niger Pipelines located at Sugi, Deebon and Kol-naana River in Bodo community.
As at the time of filing this report, the spillage in Deebon-Bodo was still on, as residential houses and farmlands have been soaked with crude oil from the boiling pipeline. The current spill is the second incident occurring at a particular spot in Deebon village in less than one month.
It would be recalled that the recent JIV report had revealed that Shell spilled five barrels of crude oil into Bodo community on August 2.
The report signed by NOSDRA, the host community, Rivers State Ministry of Environment and Shell had revealed: “The spill from the Bomu-Bonny section of the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) in Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State on 3 August 2022 was largely water (98 per cent) from the ongoing flushing of the TNP, with residual crude oil of about five barrels as established by the signed report of the Joint Investigation Visit led by regulators, and involving representatives of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment and the community.
“Owing to the high level of theft, the SPDC has not processed crude oil through the TNP since mid-June 2022. Cleanup of the impacted area and repair work on the pipeline are under way.”
Meanwhile, residents of Bodo community are presently distressed following the reoccurrence of spillage in different sections of the land.
Speaking with THISDAY yesterday, an indigene of Deebon in Bodo, Mr. Vikere Godfrey lamented that they were suffering from the incident, saying less than 11 days they have experienced two spillages from TNP operated by Shell.
“It is unfortunate the way we are suffering, what is happening to us and the federal government is not giving us any listening ear as if we are not human and this is becoming unbecoming. The spill is really disturbing our farmlands and our stream. Many of us are already sick because of the contamination of the air we are breaking, on the water we are drinking.
“This happened about 11 days ago. You see living houses that are already drained with oil. We cannot cook inside the house so we have to go elsewhere and find refuge. So presently the farmers have been affected.”
Lamenting, Mrs. Charity Ghana, a native of Bodo said “International community should come and rescue us. I cannot say anything but God knows the best. We are dying now. Our children, everybody in the community are not safe.”
Pointing at a spill spot, Ghana cried: “This is the first one that happened on 2nd of August and this one occurred yesterday, just yesterday. This is the first one. In the month of August about four spillages occurred in this community. I can’t see clearly because of the pollution, the effect is very harsh on us.”
Also speaking at the spill site, Dr. Douglas Fabeke, President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), said that “the ravaging and resurfacing spill in Bodo community which has impacted the residential areas of the community with dwellers asked to evacuate to mitigate the associated risks, including probable fire outbreak is a strong vindication of our continued agitation and demand for a comprehensive clean up of Ogoni land and the decommissioning of the decayed facilities of the SPDC.”
Fabeke expressed displeasure at the attitude of SPDC, HYPREP for their alleged inability to issue statement and put out the spills in order to curtail its spread since the spill occurred as well as commencing a proper remediation of the impacted site and compensation of the people of Bodo in line with global best practices.
“We state that if the spill of 2nd August, 2022 was immediately curtailed, the reoccurring spill of 24th August, 2022 would not have occurred.”
Fabeke therefore called on the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to immediately come to the aid of the Bodo people and curtain this spill so as to prevent fire outbreak and destruction of lives and properties.
He also called on residents of Bodo community to desist from the further scooping of the crude oil as it is highly inflammable and capable of causing massive explosions in the community.