In a recent development, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has officially acknowledged an oil spill that occurred on October 3 at its facilities in the Peremabiri community, located in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa. SPDC spokesperson, Michael Adande, has confirmed that a joint investigative team is currently conducting an assessment of the incident to determine the cause and extent of the oil discharge.
This statutory probe, which includes representatives from the operator, host community, and regulatory agencies, aims to generate a comprehensive report detailing the cause and scale of pollution after each reported spill. Adande stated, “A government-led Joint Investigation Team is currently on a Joint Investigation Visit to the site of the incident to determine the cause and the impact of the incident.”
Meanwhile, residents of Peremabiri are appealing to all tiers of government to urge SPDC to promptly initiate a clean-up operation at the oil spill site. The leak, originating from the Diebu Creek flow station operated by SPDC in Peremabiri, has resulted in an as-yet undetermined volume of crude oil spreading to adjacent areas of the community and the Nun River.
Alagoa Morris, the programme manager of Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), expressed concern over the oil leak’s detrimental impact on the ecosystem. He emphasized that the resultant pollution has significantly affected the predominantly farming and fishing settlements along the banks of the River Nun. Morris, who also serves as the technical advisor to the Bayelsa governor on environmental matters, commended the peaceful response of the affected individuals and called on regulatory agencies to ensure SPDC promptly carries out the necessary clean-up process to alleviate economic and health challenges faced by the indigenous people of the Peremabiri community.
One of the affected farmers, Yenimi Timipre, lamented the staining and subsequent uselessness of her fishing gear due to the crude oil contamination. Favour Morgan, the deputy woman leader of the community, emphasized the despair experienced by the Peremabiri people as a result of the oil spill. She explained, “We rely on farming and fishing as our means of livelihood, and the toxic oil from Shell’s oil field has damaged our sources of income. We are in need of immediate relief and assistance to support our farmers and fishermen.”