April 1, 2023

The Ikebiri Creek in Olodiama clan, Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State has experienced yet another extremely disturbing oil spillage in its environment.

In the past, the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN] have documented several oil spill incidents in Ikebiri environment. And notably, the only oil company operating in the environment is Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC/Eni]; with most oil spills resulting from equipment failure.

Apart from the equipment failure incident in 2010 which attracted litigation against Agip, another major equipment failure incident occurred in early 2015 before this current one in 2020. Within these intervals of 5 years of major equipment failure incidents; there have been several other oil spill incidents.

It would be recalled that Ikebiri became the very first community in Nigeria to sue Agip [Eni] in an Italian court, in respect of the clean up issues and damages caused by a spill from Agip’s pipeline in 2010. Incidentally, that case was later withdrawn in 2019; at the instance of Agip [Eni], for out of Court settlement.

At Ikebiri 1, a lady, Uroupatei Igoli, who is also a woman Chief in the community reacted to ERA/FoEN’s questions about the spill, thus: “I am standing here speaking to you as a Chief of Tamakunuon [section of the community] in this community concerning how this crude oil [spill] is suffering us. This boloukubu [special bush] where this spill occurred is where we go often to set our fish traps and nets for our livelihood and from which we take care of our children’s education and feed the family. With the occurrence of this oil spill, it has affected the aquatic lives, killing all the fish in the swamp and river. We are left with nothing, as we no longer catch fish even if you go to the swamp or river to fish

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