Environmentalists fault joint investigative visit to Shell’s spill site in Bayelsa

Posted by News Express | 27 April 2015 | 3,264 times

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Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called for a fresh Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) of the Kolo Crek manifold Spill site in Otuasega community in Bayelsa.

ERA/FoEN, an environmental rights group, in its field report on the spill incident made available to our correspondent on Sunday, said the JIV did not document majority of the impacted sites around the facility.

According to the report signed by Mr Alagoa Morris, ERA/FoEN’s Head of Field Operation in Bayelsa, several plantain and banana plantations, fishponds and farmlands damaged by the spill, were not captured in the JIV report.

The report stated: “There is the urgent need for all Stakeholders to return to the impacted environment to reappraise and re-document the JIV Report; especially as it relates to volume of spilt crude, spread and impacts.

“ERA is calling for a Fresh JIV. The Regulatory agencies; especially the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, should take all necessary steps to reinvestigate this matter which is of common communal interest.

“In line with the polluter pays principle; Shell should be prepared to compensate victims of this major spill. The time oil companies hide under the sabotage clause to escape liability should be over.

“This should be legally challenged as Shell ought to have a CCTV within the Manifold environment to monitor movements around the facility.”

According to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) the leak within the Kolo creek oil field operated by the firm in Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa discharged some 27 barrels of shell’s crude blend into the environment on April 15, 2015.

A statement from SPDC’s Spokesman Joseph Obari also said the spill was caused by Sabotage.

“Report of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) at the Kolo Creek Manifold spill which occurred on April 15, 2015 has attributed the leak to sabotage of the facility.

“The investigation team, which visited the site on April 16, found that unknown persons had cut out a section of the metal protection to the manifold, removed components of the pressure control system and opened the isolation valves.

“It resulted to a spill. The volume of spilled oil was estimated at 27 barrels, affecting mainly the manifold grounds and part of the surrounding vegetation,” the statement read in part.

ERA/FoEN urged the victims of the spill in Otuasega community to maintain a peaceful disposition while seeking redress from Shell.

Reacting to the development, Mr Iniruo Wills, Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment said that the state government would verify the reported exclusion of impacted sites.

“We have to look the information and verify it and if it is true that the impacted area was larger than what was originally captured, we shall find a way of addressing these concerns.

“All parties have a duty to make sure that they are included, nobody can hide under the cover of technicalities to say that a fact that is reality will not be captured.

“We have to look at it and address it one way or the other even if it means paying another visit, another JIV to expand the scope, we cannot leave those people outside the net of justice,” Wills said.

•Photo shows oil spill response workers recovering spilt crude into plastic tank in clean-up efforts following oil leak from Kolo Creek Manifold operated by SPDC in Ogbia Local Government in Bayelsa State.

Source: News Express

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