NEW OIL SPILL IN OGONILAND: YEAC-NIGERIA RECORDS ANOTHER ADVOCACY SUCCESS
The Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria) has recorded yet another advocacy success following the exposure of the new oil spill that occurred in Ebubu Community, Eleme local government area (Ogoniland) as reported on Friday, February 10, 2023 in a press release from the organization’s Crude Oil Spill Alert System (COSAS).
The statement which drew public attention to the oil spill said to have been ongoing for three days unreported on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Ltd facility’s right of way also attracted the attention of the company that eventually responded to the spill as journalists who received the alert contacted Shell for a response.
SPDC through its spokesman, Mr. Michael Akande confirmed the spill in a statement released in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Saturday night of February 11.
The company in the statement confirmed that the spill occurred on its Ebubu and Ogale Manifold 12 Pipeline in the State. “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited confirms an incident on the Ebubu and Oghale Manifold 12 pipeline in Rivers State. We are working with industry regulators to safely contain the discharge which is on our right of way while we await the government-led joint investigation team into the cause and impacts” the statement from Shell read in parts.
In further updates from the Advocacy Centre over the spill by the weekend, a fire incident was reported on the spill site the same night of Friday that YEAC-Nigeria alerted about the spill.
The fire which photographs and short videos of it were sent to the Advocacy Centre by the community youths and members of its network, “One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta” was eventually proactively put out by a team from Shell, paving the way for JIV scheduled on Sunday, February 12.
Unconfirmed JIV report from the site has it that the spill was caused by third party interference as against earlier allegation of equipment failure on the part of Shell.
Our success story of advocacy achievement lies in the fact that the statement we released based on factual information generated from our Crude Oil Spill Alert System (COSAS) at the community level was received by the media and the public that reached out to SPDC for confirmation and the company confirmed it to be true and took steps to not only put out the inferno at the site but also got prepared to receive the regulators, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) among other stakeholders for a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) held two days after on February 12 and now bringing the situation under control.
Armed with the JIV report, the company should do the needful by not only addressing the impacts of the spill on the immediate environment but also take steps to ensuring that its pipelines are protected to prevent further spills into the fragile Ogoni and Niger Delta environment from its facilities.
Youths involved in artisanal crude oil refining should also stop acts of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft while the government should take immediate steps to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta through the issuance of the licenses announced in 2021 for the establishment of modular refineries for artisanal refiners as promised by the Federal Government through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2017. The Government should also establish the “Presidential Artisanal Crude Oil Refining Development Initiative (PACORDI)” as proposed by YEAC-Nigeria for which two National Submits for the integration of Modular/Artisanal Petroleum Refineries Operations into the National Economy were organized in 2021 and 2022 respectively among other proposed oil theft mitigation mechanisms for Nigeria.
FYNEFACE DUMNAMENE FYNEFACE,
Executive Director, YEAC-Nigeria.
February 13, 2023.