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YEAC-Nigeria, ERA/FoEN Call for Immediate Remediation of Peremabiri Community

…As SPDC Confirms Spill from Debu Flow Station

By Obiabin Onukwugha and Grace Samuel

Two environmental bodies, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria) and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has called on the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), to immediately take remediation steps in Peremabiri Community, Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State, where a spill is said to have occured last week.

This is even as the SPDC confirmed the oil spill from an equipment in its flow station.

It was gathered that the spill, which reportedly occurred on October 3 from the Diebu Creek Flow Station operated by the SPDC, has affected the river and creeks as yet-to-be ascertained barrels of crude oil have been discharged into the water bodies around the community.

The environmental bodies in separate statements issued at the weekend, called on SPDC to clean up the water body, and adequately compensate the people as the incident is alleged to be an act of equipment failure.

Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Fyneface Dumnamene, in the statement lamented the impact of the spill on the river, which is the source of survival for the Peremabiri people, and called on the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to live up to its responsibility on Joint Investigation Visits (JIV). The body also called on NOSDRA to invoke relevant existing laws to hold Shell accountable.

On his part, Programme Manager, Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Alagoa Morris, said the pollution from the oil spill had adversely affected the predominantly farming and fishing settlements along the banks of the River Nun.

Morris, who is also the Technical Adviser to the Bayelsa Governor on Environment, commended the peaceful disposition of victims in the community.

He urged the regulatory agencies to ensure that the SPDC immediately carries out the required clean-up process to save indigenes of Peremabiri from economic and health challenges.

Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria at the weekend, confirmed the spill.

A spokesperson for the SPDC, Michael Adande, said a Joint investigative visit (JIV) to the incident site to unravel the cause and volume of oil discharged into Peremabiri’s land and marine environment was underway.

The JIV is a statutory probe comprising representatives of the operator, host community and regulatory agencies that generate a report to show the cause, extent of pollution after every spill is reported.

It was gathered that victims of the spill have cried out, calling for adequate compensation.

The Deputy Woman Leader of Peremabiri, Mrs Favour Morgan, lamented that the spill had destroyed their fishing nets, traps, crops and polluted the whole aquatic environment, and demanded for succour.

“This oil spill has thrown the Peremabiri people into despair. We are into farming and fishing as our means of livelihood and the toxic oil from Shell’s oil field has damaged our livelihood sources.

“We are helpless and in dire need of intervention by way of relief and succour to farmers and fishermen,” Morgan said.

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