The Bayelsa State government and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) yesterday disagreed over the report submitted by the technical committee set up to investigate the cause of the recent oil spill in Santa Barbara Well-Head 1 of OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd in Nembe local government area of Bayelsa State.
They both set up parallel technical committees to investigate the oil spill that lasted for over 38 days.
While the joint investigation team set up by NOSDRA attributed cause of the spill to third party interference, the technical committee of the state government attributed the spill to a technical default.
In the JIV report made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the NOSDRA team made up of representatives from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and AITEO Exploration and Production Company Limited agreed that the cause of the spill was third party interference, meaning it was sabotaged.
But the Bayelsa State technical committee in its report argued that though the initial visit was botched because AITEO, using men of the Nigerian Navy, stopped a news correspondent from Arise News Television which accompanied the Bayelsa State government delegation for the purpose of covering the event and ensuring transparency in the process, found and declared the cause of the spillage to be equipment/maintenance failure.
According to the report from the technical committee of the state government signed by the state attorney general and commissioner for justice, Biriyai Dambo, SAN, representatives of NOSDRA NUPRC and AITEO on the other hand had a different opinion, and the contradicting positions were not resolved. Consequently, the Bayelsa State government delegation could not append their signatures on the NOSDRA form for the JIV report, as NOSDRA insisted that only the box for indicating their opinion of the possible cause of spill could be ticked, and that there was no room for the state government to state its contrary finding.