Agip oil spill is killing us, Bayelsa farmers cry

Farmers impacted by an ongoing oil leak from an oil field operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, have appealed to the Bayelsa government to assist them to stop the pollution.

The leakage, reported on August 15 from a ruptured pipeline, has been discharging a mixture of gas and crude under high pressure into the environment.

A NAN correspondent, who visited the oil field at Kalaba and Ayambele communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa, reports that the leakage impacted on nearby farmlands and Taylor creek.

Narrating her ordeal, Mary-Gold Nwanlia expressed regrets that the oil leak, which was noticed and reported to officials of Agip on August 15, was left to escalate and caused avoidable damages to her farm.

“Now this crude oil and gas spewing into the environment has affected my farm again as my farm is not far from the spill site.

“We plant here every year and we use to go and buy the yam seedlings for planting from far distance.

“With this spill my efforts and labour has been in vain because I cannot harvest any healthy yam tuber from this farm again due to the spill.

“Even if we harvest them and take home they will get rotten soon after because of the negative impact of the crude oil.

“We want government to come to our assistance. I don’t have any other job, farming and fishing had been what I depend on to make ends meet,” Mrs. Nwanlia said.

Also, Timinipre Francis, said that several bags of cassava she soaked in Taylor creek had been contaminated, following the flow of the spilled crude into the nearby swamps.

“You can see the cassava I peeled and soaked here inside this bag.

“This is what I usually do during the rainy season and I take the fermented cassava home when we bring canoe here.

“But, as it is now I cannot take these ones home; the crude oil has condemned them. The current spill has spread to cover this area before we could come to farm. I soaked the cassava here since last week.

“And, when we came to the farm we now met the ugly situation; crude oil has spread to this environment and affected the cassava,” Mr. Francis said.

When contacted, officials of the oil firm declined comments on the development within its operations in Bayelsa.

Filipo Cotalini, Media Relations Office Manager at Eni, the Italian energy firm which operates in Nigeria as NAOC, also declined comment.

(NAN)


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