Bayelsa governor warns Aiteo over oil spill in Nembe

Governor Douye Diri has expressed worry over the development, following the lifting of the ban on interstate travel.

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Friday, expressed displeasure over the failure of Eastern Exploration and Production Company, the operator of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29, to stop the oil spill at its Santa Barbara South field in the Nembe Local Government Area of the state, two weeks after the leak started on November 5.

Aiteo had in a statement issued by its Media Contact, Matthew Ndiana, on November 10, reported that “the magnitude of this incident is of an extremely high order.”

Speaking through Ayibaina Duba, the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Diri said he was disappointed that Aiteo had neglected to take any concrete step since the leak, which allegedly resulted from equipment failure, was reported to it.

He wondered why Aiteo, an indigenous oil company, will allow the massive spill to continue, “leading to extensive pollution of the rivers, waterways and farmlands in Nembe Local Government Area, even when the company’s management is aware of the situation.”

The governor said he was gravely concerned that if the high volume of crude oil being spilt continuously was not curtailed immediately, it will spread to many more communities and undermine the economic life of residents who are predominantly farmers and fishermen.

He said he was particularly disappointed that “the management of Aiteo has continued to play the Ostrich and is yet to shut-in its failed facility.”

Diri said, “AITEO should not assume that this criminal neglect of its facility and disregard for human life and the environment, as demonstrated by its conduct, will not be accounted for.”

He, therefore, asked Aiteo to “be prepared for the consequences of its failure as the government will not stand by and watch the oil firm put human and aquatic lives and the environment in jeopardy.”

Diri advised residents to be law-abiding and remain peaceful, assuring them of the state government’s commitment to their wellbeing at all times.

Recall that on Sunday, the Director-General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Idris Musa, had said crude oil spill was still spewing around the affected facility belonging to Aiteo.

Musa noted that the spill had not been clamped and the intensity of the leak was hampering investigation at the impacted site.

He added that officials of the agency deployed to ascertain the cause and estimated volume of crude discharged could not carry out an investigation.

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