Nigerian oil spill devastates ten Delta communities

Jul 11, 2006 02:00 AM

An oil spill has been reported along the banks of Ethiope River in Ethiope-West local government area of Delta State, leaving about ten communities devastated.
Member representing the area in the State House of Assembly, Mr Anthony Akpomiemie broke the news on the floor of the House, and gave the names of the affected communities as Jesse town, Mosogar, Atiwor, Ugbomoya Waterside, Ovade and Onyobru, among others. The lawmaker lamented that economic activities have been crippled in the area since the spill occurred.

The state Assembly consequently mandated its Committee on Oil Mineral and Gas as well as its Committee on Environment to undertake a tour of the area and report back for appropriate action following a motion moved by Mr Akpomiemie.
Responding to inquiries later, Mr Akpomiemie said although he could not say which of the oil companies owns the facility that caused the spill, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Pan Ocean have their pipelines running across the area.

He said: "These pipes were installed several years ago. The entire Ethiope River as I am talking to you now is polluted with crude oil. The people in that area depend on fishing apart from farm work, planting of cassava, yam, for now they cannot do that. If you go there, you find on top of the river fishes and things like that floating, those ones are dead."
"People who live around that area, River Ethiope is the source of their sharp sand. The divers they can hardly go in as at now to get sand for building. You find out that the cost of sharp sand has gone up astronomically because the boys who normally do the diving cannot do it again".

He added that "the level of devastation is very very high. The aquatic life has been rendered totally useless", noting that "besides the communities listed in the motion above, several others have been impacted by the incident.
Apart from the affected area, the fear we have is that the tidal wave is moving towards Sapele area", noting that "there is the likelihood of the spill spreading to Sapele and the Ukwani Area from where the river drives its source."

Source: Vanguard
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