Fear has gripped the people of Kalaba community in Okordia clan of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over oil spills ravaging the area.
The spills, discovered recently in the area are spreading fast to the swamps and forest, bringing the ecosystem in the community under a serious threat.
The inhabitants of Kalaba community lamented that over a month after the spill occurred, it had yet to be contained.
They appealed to the government and relevant authorities to prevail on the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, owners of the facility, to carry out remediation on the site.
The Paramount ruler of the community, Chief Roman Orukali, said in an interview on Wednesday that though some officials of the company visited the area, the spill had yet to be put under control.
He said “Agip came to the site on August 5 though they could not reach the area because of water, up till now the oil is still bubbling and it is heading towards the swamp. That is one of the fishing swamps we have and if not cleaned up in time, it will affect us adversely.
“They don’t attend to spill on time. So, I am appealing to the Federal Government to prevail on the company to return to the spill site on time and do the necessary clean-up and remediation.”
The youth leader of the community, Mr. Samuel Opuro, said aquatic and farming activities were worst hit by the spills.
Our said, “It got to my notice on August 2, this year and I am very sure that the spills happened even before then. For the site to remain that way for over a month you know what it means and when it rains, oil particles go deep into the soil and they affect farmlands, crops, even our economic trees are dying.”
The Bayelsa State Coordinator, Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth, Alagoa Morris, called on the multinational oil firm to take urgent steps to stop the spill in order to avert imminent danger.
Morris said, “This is rainy season, the spill will impact the surrounding swamps. This is when swamp time fishing activities take place and with the spill, that is affected because it is spreading within the surrounding swamps.
“That is why we are very much concerned, because the more the spill, the more the water takes it far away from the very spill point.”
The Environmental Rights activist, however, urged the community to promptly report incidents of oil spills in their areas to ensure timely clean-up.
Kalaba Community had earlier on February 20, this year, experienced a gas leak which occurred underneath the Taylor Creek.