By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, to visit communities impacted by the ongoing oil spill from Aiteo’s Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 facility in Bayelsa State to investigate the level of damages.
Business Post had reported that since November 5, massive crude oil and gas leaks have been spewing uncontrollably in the Santa Barbara River, from a well head in OML 29 which is operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO) in a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Following several calls, the Minister, after a meeting with Mr Buhari on Wednesday, said the President has given a directive to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to ascertain the level of damage done at the site.
He said, “We (the federal government) are quite aware of the oil spillage in OML 29.
“Unfortunately, it has happened. It is also one of the issues I discussed with the President as a Minister and he has asked us to go and visit the site to assess the situation and report back.
“Definitely, we are quite concerned with what is happening in Nembe and will be going there very soon, tomorrow in fact, to go and look at what is happening and report back.”
The Minister assured that the President was concerned about the spill, saying that its adverse environmental impact will not be tolerated by the government.
“Mr President is personally very interested and we have discussed it and he said we should go there and come back and report to him because environmental degradation issues are things that we are not going to condone but, of course, we’ll work with the operators of OML 29 to ensure that this spillage is brought under control as quickly as possible,” he added.
In a related event, communities in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State have raised the alarm that the ongoing OML 29 oil spill in Bayelsa State have now spread into their communities.
The President-General of Kula Youths Organizations, Mr Japus Ekine, lamented that many communities in Kula Kingdom are now affected by the spills from the Aiteo facility.
Mr Ekine, who decried the negative impact of hydrocarbon on the people and the ecosystem, appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike, other relevant authorities to intervene and save the people of Kula Kingdom and their environment from the spill.