Group asks FG, COP 26 to halt oil-well leakage in Bayelsa

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An Ijaw group under the aegis of Ijaw Diaspora Council, (IDC) has called on the Federal Government and the international community to urgently intervene to put a stop to the continued oil leak at Santa Barbara oil well 1 in Nembe, Bayelsa State.

It will be recalled that Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Exploration Company operators of OML 29 had on Nov. 5 reported a major leak from its facility located in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
A statement issued by company’s Spokesman, Mathew Ndianabasi who described the incident as massive had said it was mobilizing local and international efforts to end the leak.

IDC, with headquarters in New Jersy, USA however in a statement issued by Pastor Kenneth Tamara, Director of Public Relations, IDC advocated for immediate action to remediate the environment before the global Climate Conference (COP26) rounds off in Glasgow.

The group further urged for international emergency action on the massive explosion of accumulated gas and oil from a non-producing well within OML 29.

The IDC stated that preliminary  inquiries from petroleum experts indicate that the incident was caused by maximum pressure from piled-up gas in the well, which has witnessed several spills in previous years.
“As described by the operator of the unattended oil well, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Ltd,   parading global awards for corporate social responsibility. The magnitude of this incident is of an extremely high order.
The indigenous peoples’ entire mangrove forest and marine environments are adversely affected by the same methane gas that world leaders have gathered in Scotland to cut emissions”, the statement said.

Continuing, the statement added that, “What is happening now in Nembe is the opposite of whatever the Nigerian Government promised as its nationally determined contribution to global climate action.
In a neighboring oil field, coastal communities in Brass Local Government Area in Nigeria have also been ravaged for several weeks by gas spewing continually from another oil rig site named The Adriatic.
There has been virtually no official action from the petroleum and environment ministries and agencies, as usual”, it continued.

It raised further concerns that, “For strange considerations, including conflicted and incestuous interests, Nigeria’s fossil industry regulators have routinely looked away as companies routinely gas and pollute hundreds of Ijaw, Ogoni, and other local communities in the Niger Delta.

These disasters occurring during COP 26 are graphic examples of Nigeria’s insincerity and lack of capacity for climate security, environmental justice, and indigenous minorities’ protection.
We can no longer allow this catastrophic environmental destruction to go on without a consolidated international response,” the statement reads in part”, it reiterated.

The group therefore called on the Presidency, the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and world leaders to take immediate action to cause the Government of Nigeria to stop the ongoing  pollutions in Bayelsa which it said was  parallel with the COP26.

The IDC further called on the international environmental rights and climate change movement to commence ecological remediation, insisting that the interventions, they said, should include economic reparations and activate detailed investigations.

“The superintending Nigerian ministries and departments are too weak to act to determine and sanction defaulting operators.
“Their officers and the recalcitrant regulators have encouraged their repeated crimes of ecocide.
“Therefore, we demand that trusted international bodies lead the investigations, and commence ecological remediation and economic reparations.

“COP26 cannot be a success without global action to stop  the current ecocide in Nembe, Nigeria,” the group concluded.

By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa


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