• Worry as only source of drinking water is polluted
Indigenes of Kalaba community, Okordia Clan in Yenagoa Local Government of Bayelsa State, have raised the alarm over a major gas leakage in Taylor creeks, which has contaminated their only source of drinkable water.
The community, whose major occupation are fishing, farming, hunting and weaving, are calling on the relevant authorities especially the Nigerian Oil and Gas Company (NAOC), operators of the Agip Joint Ventures, who own the pipeline to come to their rescue before it gets out of hand.
A report by Alagoa Morris of the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN], said the leakage was first noticed early Saturday (20th of February) morning when leaders of Kalaba community noticed some kind of bubbling in the middle of the Taylor Creek.
A close watch by the community also shows the oil/gas pipelines belong to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company which crossed the Taylor Creek while a further check revealed what was suspected to be a gas leak from one of the company’s pipelines.
Reacting to the incident yesterday, the Paramount ruler of the community, Chief Roman Orukali and the youth president, Samuel Oburo, said they were informed of the leakage which prompted them to come and investigate.
The youth President said: “ The bubbling you are seeing right on the Creek, is gas leaking from the pipeline. We noticed it yesterday morning. One Mrs. Florence Nyinkefamo rushed to me and informed me that something strange was happening at the waterside. And when I rushed to see things for myself, I noticed that it was a leakage from pipeline owned by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC].
“You can see that people are still making use of the Creek, rowing from one end of the community to the other, washing, bathing and every other thing we use the water here for, even though it portends some health risks. This is our only source of water, nearest to the community and, it is a major resource our people rely on. It is very unfortunate that Agip has operated here for over 28 years and this community is yet to benefit anything from the company; we get only the negative impacts of their operations. Even the water project which Agip promised us, for which the community and Agip had signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU], it is over a year since signing the MOU and Agip is yet to execute the water project for our community.”
On his part, the traditional ruler said: “What we are seeing here is the bubbling of gas; leaking from the pipe of NOAC. This was discovered in the early hours of yesterday. I got to hear about it first when some children were shouting that oil was bubbling and that there was a leakage.
“As a trained field monitor, I also came around to see what was happening in the environment. I discovered that it was true, gas was actually bubbling. Incidentally, this Creek is our only source of drinking water and where we carry out almost all domestic activities.
And right now, the water is polluted.”
When asked if the community has informed Agip, he said, “I have not reached out to Agip because they have their surveillance team here, and the incident occurred just a few meters [about a hundred meters] from their duty post.”