Fishermen and residents in Koluama 2 community in Bayelsa State have bemoaned the use of toxic dispersants to contain ongoing oil leak at Conoil’s field.
The fishing settlement on the Atlantic coastline says the toxic chemicals had wiped fish species and distorted aquatic life and threatened the occupation.
Dispersants are chemicals applied with regulatory approval and supervision at deep offshore oilfields to dissolve massive oil spills.
Mr Patrick Ileberi, Chairman, Koluama 2, Community Development Committee (CDC), said on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, that the chemical posed hazard to residents.
“Our fishermen cannot go for their daily expeditions, the ongoing mop up operations, using this poisonous chemical has forced us out of fishing and the oil workers deploy gunboats to keep us away.
“It is double trouble because those who wish to enter deep sea fishing cannot go because the security vessels have cordoned off the area and our fishermen cannot cross,” he said.
He explained that the dispersant polluted the air in the neighbourhood and left a choking sensation and respiratory difficulties.
Ileberi said that the community’s leadership had reported the oil spill to the Yenagoa office of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The chairman explained that oil workers at the facility had shut down the pressure on the production pipelines, leading to the disappearance of gas flare flames at the oil field.
Ileberi urged the various tiers of government to come to the aid of the community with relief materials and healthcare missions to Koluama 2.
He regretted that officials of the oil firm were negligent of the adverse health impact of the chemicals on the health of residents.
Officials of the oil spill agency, NOSDRA, visited the spill site on Monday to commence investigation on the one-week-old incident.
When contacted, Mr Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA, said that the agency did not approve the use of dispersants in the area.
Mr Abiodun Azeez, Media Relations Manager of the oil firm, declined to comment on the development.
By Nathan Nwakamma