Residents of Nembe in Bayelsa State have reported fresh oil leak, months after the Nov. 5 spill at Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29.
OML 29, which encompasses the 97km Nembe Creek Trunk Line connecting oilfields to the Bonny Export Terminal, is operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, an indigenous firm.
Aiteo acquired OML 29 for $2.4 billion following divestment by Shell Petroleum Development Company in 2015.
The alleged leak, which originated from a ruptured pipeline from Nembe Flow Station 4 near Ogbolomabiri, has been discharging crude into the Nembe creeks.
James Karibo, a fisherman who operates in the area, bemoaned the incident which occurred barely three months after an earlier leak from the facility and which lasted for 32 days before it was plugged.
“It is a sad news for us who depend on fishing in the creeks. We have not even recovered from the losses from the last spill which contaminated, destroyed our fishing nets. We are in distress and cannot fish in oil contaminated waters,” he said.
Chief Ebinabo Waribo of Malabo in Opu-Nembe, who confirmed the incident, expressed regrets that the company has yet to respond to the leak.
“This is a major spill at ‘Nembe 4’ and Aiteo has not responded yet. They have not mobilised a spill response team to site to contain the spilled crude.
“The oil discharge has spread to Bassambiri and its satellite communities and adversely impacted the fishing vocation of the people,” Waribo said.
Mr Ndianabasi Mathew, spokesperson for Aiteo Group, has yet to respond to request for comments.
By Nathan Nwakamma