The field report releaded by the Environmental Earth Right Action document an other oil spill by Agip pipeline in Nigeria.
Oil companies have made record profits in recent years. Yet the oil-rich Niger Delta remains impoverished, with no schools, no health facilities, or basic infrastructure. Most food in the region is imported due to the decades of contamination of the water and soil by oil and gas companies operating in the region.
Okashikpa village in Abacheke community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government area of Imo state is a boundary town between Rivers and Imo state. The community is home to Agip's Akiri-Ebocha pipeline. The people of Abacheke are mainly farmers and fishermen. Information gathered by Environmental Earth Right Action from community folks indicate that Agip pipelines have been laid in the community since 1973 and have not been changed since then. The community can be accessed by land from Imo and from Rivers State.
TESTIMONIES FROM THE COMMUNITY
Mr. Frank Uzor
On the 11th of August my community was alarmed by the news that a spill had occurred that afternoon on the Akiri /Ebocha pipeline. Contrary to the usual reports that hoodlums come from other states to vandalize the pipe and steal crude, we learnt that this incident was caused by Agip staff that came to do clamping and in the process an error occurred and there was a huge spill that also got into the Orashi River. Some community youths going about fishing saw all this occurring. What they then did was continue the clamping and as a result the place was messed up. I got the instruction from the Ezeani, that is the chief of the community, Prince Ifeanyi Onyenwoke to go and do an inspection and collect evidence from the site. I saw the extent of the spill and polluted the waterway so we collected the water sample, took it to Port Harcourt for chemical analysis for heavy metals and degree of contamination because we get fish and aquaculture from the river. We wanted to know if our fish which we depended on for years was still edible. While this test was being carried out by the Niger-Delta Basin Authority Port Harcourt, we forwarded a letter to Agip and copied the Ezeobi of Egbema, His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Steve Uzor and the GMD of Agip. We now got the email addresses of all this relevant people and sent to all of them including the public affairs manager Port Harcourt. On the 14th we sent these same people the hard copies and on the 18th we forwarded the pictures showing them the extent of the damage. But as of this moment there is yet any response from them, not even acknowledgement that they have received the letters. The water is totally messed up; it has high concentration of heavy metals and the rest of it, above 1milligramme which is not advisable. We want them to do basically what they do when a spill occurs. There is no proper evaluation of the extent of damage and they do not employ professionals to do the right job. They do not do proper clean up and remediation of the place. They should take measures to ensure that this does not recur.
Farmer from Okashikpa Village in Abacheke Community, Imo State
Some days ago Agip said they noticed a spill here and came to clamp, in the process of made a very huge error which made the pipe to burst with a loud noise. All those present including the army officers with them ran away. This place that you see was not like this. They said it was bunkering people but I never noticed the environment in this form before. If It is bunkering people, that means whenever they are done with their deed they cock it properly. This oil pouring was not when they came to clamp it that it exploded. The oil spilled all over our farm land. Agip people ran away because they taught the thing had killed somebody, because of the pressure which was measuring more 12 feet high. What annoyed us most was that they did not let us the landlords know. This is their pattern. I want them to come for proper negotiations, with affected landlords and the community. Even if Agip is saying it is sabotage, all they needed to do is to let us know and we will be available. They have to pay me compensation because it is their error that caused all this oil you see here.
ERA/FoEN monitor observed that the Akiri/Ebocha pipeline has been subject of oil thefts which made Agip to employ local surveillance security team to monitor the area however, when the spill occurred, community members visited the site and where there for hours but never noticed the presence of the security surveillance. While ERA monitor was there no security on site or close by.
In 2002 Agip ws said to have laid new pipes which the community described as new gas pipes even though they were not consulted before, during or after the pipe was laid. Up on till the time of this report, the council of chiefs and other relevant organs of the community have not been contacted. No JIT has been done by the company. That there has not been any action on the part of NESREA, DPR, NOSDRA means they are not aware that there was an error by Agip when it was trying to seal a leaking pipe which led to the spill.
1. Agip should accept blame for their negligence which has affected farmlands and water.
2. Agip should, with other relevant government agencies carry out a comprehensive Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report.
3. Proper compensation should be given to the affected victims of Agip negligence.
Environmental Earth Right Action ask to to help th Abacheke community
_* Send a letter to your legislator (Local Government, State and Federal) to call Agip to order.
_* Demand a cleanup of the swamps and farmlands affected by the slick from Agip facility
_* Write to Agip offices to demand it stop all leakages in their facility, remediate impacted lands and pay compensation to community folks.