Despite recent claims by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) that it has recovered over 95 percent of spilled oil from the April spill incidents on sections of the Trans Ramos Pipeline (TRP) in Aghoro community, Bayelsa State, and in Odimodi community in Delta State, residents of some affected communities have faulted the reports.
This is even as investigations showed that the spill affected some other 18 communities on the Odimodi axis as the faulty pipeline which erupted was not attended to on time thereby allowing the spilling crude to circulate around the creeks and polluted the surrounding communities.
According to a leader of one of the affected communities, Mr. Jerry Pigha, Shell has deployed a divide and rule strategy by holding discussions with the leaders of the immediate community Odimodi, while abandoning the surrounding communities affected by the spill.
He listed the affected communities to include Biniboyo, Isiayegbene, Osumayeingbidipou, Igogoamabio, Bemogbene, Itorugbene, Kufabou, Eferesougbene, Boutobo, Obigbene, Iguwa, Obolouya, Boropit, Kuku-gbene, Ikalugbene, Indorubou igbeya gbene, Okofa gbene kubu, Oweiomini gbene
Speaking On a looming crisis as a result of the spill, chairman of Iguwa Community, Mr. Pigha said SPDC in collaboration with other government agencies like Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Delta State Government officials, who visited the spill site failed to acknowledge the impact of the incident on their communities.
Expressing worries over the exclusion of the surrounding communities whose means of economic activities, fishing and farming has been hindered by the spill, said the attitude of SPDC towards them is becoming worrisome.
Pigha disclosed that they became suspicious when the executive of the other communities affected were refused participation in the series of meetings held with the executives of Odimodi communities thereby making it look like the other communities were not affected.
Speaking to our reporter who visited the scene of the accident Pigha said, “You can see for yourself that the surface of the river from where we carry out our fishing activities is covered with crude oil. Unfortunately, SPDC and the government officials who can to investigate the spillage have refused to see our plights.
Meanwhile, SPDC had in a statement issued on August 19, 2018, disclosed that it has recovered over 95 percent of spilled oil from the spill incidents on sections of the Trans Ramos Pipeline (TRP) in Aghoro community, Bayelsa State, and in Odimodi community in Delta State.
SPDC in the said statement acknowledged the spills as very regrettable, adding that in line with the standard operating procedures of SPDC, the TRP was shut down immediately the incidents were reported and the Oil Spill Response and the Emergency Response teams were activated to manage the incidents and prevent further spillage.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP on the latest development, SPDC spokesman, Bamidele Odugbesan, said the allegations are untrue as the affected communities have signed the Joint Investigation Visits (JIV) reports on the incident, stressing that the affected community was well represented and carried along at every stage of discussion. The report, according to him, will be released after sign-off by all parties.
“The JIV which is a multi-party exercise involving the regulators, the community, representatives of the state government, security agencies, and representatives of SPDC was conducted on the Odimodi scene, and the outcome was signed off by the stakeholders to authenticate the findings,” he stated.
Corroborating the SPDC position, chairman of Odimodi community, Prebor Edward, said they have held meaningful discussions with SPDC and other government agencies involved in managing such incidents.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP on the incident, Edward said Shell is currently doing the sectional replacement of the pipeline. “When spills happen here, they will first do the repairs before clean up takes place, after the repairs they will now do flushing to see if the repairs has been properly handled after that clean-up will take place, he said.
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