OIL SPILL MONITORING IN DELTA AND BAYELSA STATES
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on April 13, 15 and 16 carried out oil spillages in Delta and Bayelsa States in partnership with Spaces for Change, Lagos. The spills occurred at different dates in communities in the two states from Chevron and Shell facilties. The communities impacted by the Chevron underwater crude oil spillage in Delta State include Benikrukru, Ekiagbene, Abiteye, Omadino, Bateren, Deghele, Otunana and Makaraba while those in Bayelsa State include Agbura in Yenagoa Local Government Area and Otuokpoti in Ogbia Local Government area respectively.
The oil spill monitoring team spoke with community leaders, women groups, youths groups and paramount rulers. Stakeholders in Warri South local government area where the Chevron spill occurred from underwater blamed the spill on equipment failure and recounted their experiences on how they are affected by the oil spill which spread from the spill through through the waterways and destroyed aquatic lives, fish ponds, nets, and their drinking water sources among others. In Bayelsa State, community leaders blamed the crude oil spillage from Shell facility on equipment failure but Shell insists it is sabotage. The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) document which our team could not site a copy blamed the spill on sabotage.
Our team visited the spill site and were only allowed by men of the Nigerian Army and Shell staff on site to view the facility but not allowed to take photographs except at some less impacted sites and crude pits at the site. The team which was led by the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene 30minutes of arguments and showed him the pipe that was blown by dynamite but could not penetrate or damage before filing machine was used to cut the 16inches pipe leading to the spillage. Observation by Fyneface at the site especially on the pipe that caused the spillage showed that it was an act of sabotage but whether it was done by unknown persons determined to vandalize and cripple Federal Government’s oil production in the area as claimed by Shell or tempered with by Shell after “equipment failure” to avoid payment of compensation as claimed by some community people interviewed are what Advocacy Centre/S4C could not independently determine and verify.