OML 29 spill: Abureni kingdom demands clean up, remediation, relief materials

Yenagoa—Abureni kingdom in Ogbia and Abua/Odual Local Government Areas in Bayelsa and Rivers state have called on Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited to extend the clean up of the recent oil spill that occurred at well 1, OML 29 along the Santa Barbara river to their communities.

The kingdom made this known in a press conference held in Yenagoa attended by HRM King (Barr). Collins E. Daniel, Olila of Abureni kingdom, HRH Inatimi V. Okiori, Olilaema of Eboh community, Chief Milton A. Eghoi-Ikoni, Chairman, Idema council of chiefs.

Others include Chief (Engr) James Ewa Adisa, Regent of Emago-Kugbo community, HRH (Dr.) J. I Ogbomade, Mayor of Iduma city, Chief Seibofa Azibalagoa, Chairman Ogbia Brotherhood, Hon. Ebinyo Turner, Chairman of Ogbia Local Government Council, youth groups, amongst others.

They accused Aiteo of unpreparedness and lack of capacity to stop the oil spill and neglect of affected communities in Abureni Kingdom.

The Abureni people also chided Aiteo for what they described as a lack of empathy towards the affected communities, adding that they are no strangers to such treatment from oil firms operating in the area.

As a means of assuaging the plight of affected communities, they demanded the “provision of relief materials, including medicals to the communities/persons displaced and generally impacted by the oil spillage.

“Proper clean up of the entire Abureni communities/settlements affected by the oil spillage, using international best practices and renowned experts.

“Remediation of the polluted environment in line with best practices and international standards.

“Proper assessment of all property belonging to the communities/persons affected/impacted by the oil spillage and payment of adequate compensation without discrimination.” 

They also demanded the “involvement of the Abureni communities and their leaders in the stakeholders meetings concerning the spillage.

“Construction of the 25km Ogbia Town-Idema Kugbo road, being a legacy project earlier agreed to be done by the SPDC. This will assuage the Abureni communities and improve their social relations with Aiteo.

“Justice should be done to all host/affected/impacted communities and individuals including non-indigenes doing business on our land.”

In his remarks, Hon. EbinyoTurnah, Chairman, Ogbia Local Government Area, supported the call for a comprehensive clean-up of the area and urged Aiteo to meet with the leadership and people of the kingdom.

“I support the call for a comprehensive clean-up, remediation and compensation for affected communities in Abureni Kingdom.

“I feel very sad that Aiteo will abandon the spill site for a month until the governor visited the scene of the spill. Ogbia local government is not happy. I urge Aiteo to meet with His Majesty and the people of Abureni Kingdom,” the council boss said. 

Also speaking, Chief Seibofa Azibalagoa, Chairman, Ogbia Brotherhood said that apart from affecting Abureni kingdom, the spill may also affect other parts of the state.

His words: “Santa Barbara cuts across Abureni Kingdom. Don’t forget,  Abureni Kingdom is an epicenter of this spill.

In 1998, when the Mobil spill occurred in Eket, the oil from Eket affected BayeIsa and the Santa Barbara spill is not going to be an exception.

“As the water flows out and flows in, the spill is going to spread. As I’m talking now the spill has gone up to Ekpebuma, Emadike and up to the Ikoli river it may even come up to Yenagoa.”

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