Oil spill: Bayelsa community accuses Shell of neglect

0

Simon Utebor

The people of Bakiri community in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have staged a peaceful demonstration to protest against alleged neglect of their community by an oil firm, Shell Petroleum Development Company after oil spillage.

The indigenes lamented that over two months since oil spill from the firm’s pipeline polluted their creeks, the company had yet to come to their aid.

Women, men and youths on Friday embarked on a peaceful demonstration round the community, lamenting that since the spill occurred, Shell had neither sent relief materials nor a medical team to care for the health challenges posed by the incident.

The Paramount Ruler of the community, King Austin Desiken, said after the oil spill had subjected his community members to untold hardship, Shell allegedly felt unconcerned.

He said that the affected communities wrote to Shell through their representative in the House of Representatives, Mr. Fred Agbedi, and the state government, adding that nothing was done.

The monarch said, “Everyone, including Shell, knows that fishing is our only source of livelihood. Today, that source of living has been destroyed by Shell that is doing its own business.

“The incident happened since May 17, 2018, that is two months and some weeks and still counting. No relief materials or medical team has been sent to us.

“We can’t go to the creeks and fish anymore. All our fishes have died. If you go to the community’s health centre you will see our children there that took ill as a result of the chemicals they inhaled from the crude. All our domestic animals have died.

“I want to state categorically that Shell has no excuse for what it is doing to us right. It is sheer wickedness because Shell has confirmed to us that the spill that occurred was caused by equipment failure.’’

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Community Development Committee, Mr. Stephen Sibebo, backed the traditional ruler, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in their plight.

In his comment, the President of the community’s youths, Mr. Demedongha Tubolayefa, warned that their peaceful disposition with the firm should not be taken for granted, urging the oil company to do the right thing as a matter of urgency.

The youth president said, “We are a peace loving people but our peaceful nature should not be intrepreted by Shell as weakness or foolishness. SPDC should as matter of urgency bring relief materials to our people. It should also send a medical team to take care of our people who are sick because of the chemicals they inhaled. They should not push us to the wall.”

A community leader, Mr. Donatus Gbame, urged Shell to respect the sanctity of human lives, adding that both economic trees, aquatic and wildlife in the area had been destroyed to the detriment of the rural dwellers who depend on them for survival.

Our correspondent, who visited the scene of the spill, observed that substance suspected to be crude oil was floating atop the creek.

Reacting to the incident, the Media Relations Manager, SPDC, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, said that Bakiri people were part of Agoro I clan in Ekeremor.

Odugbesan said when the spill occurred, the oil firm responded swiftly, cleaned up the area and provided relief materials to the affected communities.

He, however, said that the company was awaiting the final outcome of the joint investigation to ascertain the cause of the oil spill in the area.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

 

 

Culled from here

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.