The Nov. 5 oil spill from a well operated by Aiteo in Nembe has spread to communities, fishing and farming settlements in Abureni clan in the Ogbia and the Abua/Odual Local Government Areas of Bayelsa and Rivers states respectively.
The elders and leaders of Abureni Kingdom, led by the monarch, Collins Daniel, said this during a press conference in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
Daniel said that the massive leak did not only affect Nembe communities but also his communities criss-crossing the two neighbouring council areas in both states.
He was flanked by the national president of Ogbia Brotherhood, Seiyibofa Azibalagoa; chairman of Ogbia LGA, Mr Ebinyu Turner.
Also at the event are some paramount rulers of Abureni communities, including Chief Inatimi Okiori, Chief Milton Eghoi-Ikoni, Chief James Ewa-Adisa, Chief Simeon Opuso and Chief Michael Edighotu.
Daniel listed some of the impacted communities to include, Idema, Eboh, Obeduma, Iduma, Emago-Kugbo, Akani (Oghan), Amorokeni, Amuruto I and II, Oruan (Atubo I), Emalo and Abu.
Others are Oboghe, Adueni, Emata-Theophilus (Mokili), Omomema, Ebililagh, Emata-Amoni, Emaerkirika, Emataiwaribo, Obhyoghan, Emata-Abiosi, Idumanamugbo, Emata-Inemo and Emataebi.
Daniel, while calling for succour to the communities said: “This incident is one that has led to economic losses, environmental pollution, environmental degradation, misery and diseases to our people.”
According to him, the oil firm’s management had not visited any of the communities and the king to show empathy as well as send relief materials and medical supplies to reduce the rising trauma among persons displaced by the incident.
Daniel, therefore, demanded proper clean-up of the entire Abureni communities and settlements affected by the spillage, using renowned experts and deploying international best practises.
He also called for remediation of the polluted environment and assessment of all property belonging to the people in order for the oil company to pay adequate compensation without discrimination.
“We demand the involvement of Abureni communities and their leaders in stakeholders’ meetings concerning the oil spill.
“Construction of the 25 km Ogbia Town-Iduma-Kugbo Road, being the legacy project earlier agreed to be done by SPDC (Aiteo’s predecessor).
“This will assuage the Abureni communities and improve their social relations with Aiteo.
“Justice should be done to all host, affected and impacted communities and individuals, including non-indigenes doing businesses on our land.” Collins said.
In his remarks, the chairman of Ogbia LGA, Ebinyu Turner, who commended the people of Abureni Kingdom for conducting themselves peacefully, called for thorough clean-up of the pollution and payment of compensation to the people.
Also, Mr Alagoa Morris, an Environmentalist, explained that the Santa Barbara River which was polluted by crude discharge for more than one month flows in opposite direction subject to high and low tides.
He said that the phenomenon was responsible for the spread of crude oil from the well to tributaries of Santa Barbara River and creeks in Nembe as well as Abureni settlements in Bayelsa and Rivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the demands are sequel to the fulfilment of the pledge of support to affected communities by Gov. Douye Diri who visited the spill site on Tuesday.
The items include 350 bags of rice, 200 bags of beans, 200 bags of garri, 100 bags of salt, 1000 cartons of noodles, 50 cartons of beverages, 50 cantons of 2 in 1 soap for bathing and 50 cantons of sugar.
The management of Aiteo had in two separate occasions within the past one month sent trucks of food items, medical supplies and cash donations to the impacted communities.