Fury and fear have pervaded Ikarama community, located near Taylor Creek in Yenagoa local council of Bayelsa since Monday, when it was exposed to a strange odour suspected to be oozing from large-volume mixture of crude and gas in the area.
The strange gaseous discharge was coming barely three weeks after another gas leakage caused an explosion in Ogboinbiri community in Southern Ijaw council area of the state. It is reported that the leakage occurred in an Agip onshore oil field facility near the Taylor Creek oil well.
Spokesman of Ikarama Development Committee, Mr. Washington Odoyibo, said in Yenagoa on Tuesday that the community noticed the development since Monday and regretted that the oil firm was yet to respond to it.
“The sound from the spill site could be heard even from our community, especially in the night when the community is relatively quiet. That confirms that it is a really serious spill,” he noted.
“It was on Monday that one of our community ladies returned from the bush and told us that there was a very serious oil spill spraying like gas into the air, along Agip pipeline.
“As per the cause of spill, you can see with me that it is not easy to get closer to the spill point because of the way the whole environment is covered with crude oil fumes, hence one cannot even guess the cause.”
According to him, members of the community were avoiding the leakage site for safety reasons and there were concerns about fire and inhalation of the toxic gas. When contacted on phone to comment on the development, Agip spokesman, Mr. Tajudeen Adigun, declined comments.
However, the Head of Operations at the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Adeyinka Adewumi, said the agency was yet to get a report on the incident.
And also reacting on the issue, the Head of Field Operations, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) in Bayelsa, Mr. Alagoa Morris, urged oil firms to lessen the pressure on the pipelines to reduce the discharge into the atmosphere.
Morris called for joint investigation of the incident by the operator of the oil field, community representatives and oil industry regulators, while the impacted site should be cleaned up promptly.
He added that ERA had conducted a field trip on the impacted site and that the environment had been negatively affected by the incident.
Information from Guardian was used in this report.