Rivers Community Risks Fire Explosion over Incessant Gas Leakages

Rivers Community Risks Fire Explosion over Incessant Gas Leakages

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Residents of Tombia community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have expressed fear  that their community would be consumed in fire explosion if nothing is done to stop the incessant gas leakages in the area from facilities of oil and gas multinationals.

Some leaders in the community, who spoke to journalists, said the gas leakage, which started on January 20, 2024, had within the past days caused great harm to residents and the environment.

They called on relevant bodies, especially Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and government to fix the gas leakage in the community.

The Secretary of Tombia Council of Chiefs, Mr. Alabo Onimite Abbey, revealed that the gas leakage has negatively impacted on their environment, most especially the local sources of livelihood.

Abbey explained that: “Last Saturday, about 7:30p.m., I was called by the DSS boss in Degema LGA of Rivers State that there was a gas explosion in my community, I told him I wasn’t aware.” 

“With the information, I have to quickly go home.

“When I got home, I was taken to the area; it was a gas leakage right in the river. This means it has spoilt most of our aquatic lives. Fishes are no longer alive, as well as periwinkle, tilapia fish and the rest of them. And as a result we cannot go fishing any longer.”

Abbey pleaded with the companies that own the leaking gas pipeline to swing into action and fix the problem.

On his part, the chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC), Tombia, Mr. Vincent Simeopiri, called for immediate intervention by NLNG as well as relevant agencies to intervene in order to halt further damage that will be caused by the gas leakage.

Simeopiri said: “NLNG knows the impact of gas leakage into the open space, particularly at the place where it occurred.

“NLNG does not need further education of the impact of gas leakage into the environment, they all know. The last time I spoke with them, they said they are going to check in their control room to ascertain the root cause of the leakage. But since then we have not heard from.

“We are using this medium to tell the world what we are facing. Everybody knows that any little spark can cause huge fire that can exterminate the entire community as well as the environment.”

Also, the youth president of the community, Mr. Owen Igbikialabo, said that he had reported to the NLNG about the gas leakage incident immediately it was spotted last week, and called on the state government to intervene in order to save lives and properties in Tombia.

“I personally called NLNG control room to report the situation, they are yet to take care of the gas leakage incident.

“We are calling on the Rivers state government, Governor Siminalayi Fubara to intervene, this is a very serious issue, it can cause fire outbreak on the entire creek and burn off the habitats,” he said.

The management of NLNG has not reacted on the development as at the time of filing this report.

Recalled that last week, the Obagi community in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA in the state, experienced explosion from their farmlands following gas leakages from the facility alleged to belong to the Agip. 

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