Fishermen operating along the Santa Barbra River and Nembe creeks in Bayelsa on Wednesday lamented the adverse impact of the Nov. 5 oil leak from Aiteo’s oilfield near the area.
The management of Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm which operates the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 said the leak remains ongoing even as it has sought foreign technical assistance to cap the leaking oil well.
Although, the oil firm said it was yet to ascertain the volume of crude discharged into the environment, at least 4,000 barrels of Bonny light crude blend in four barges of 1,000 barrels have been recovered from the spill incident site.
Chief Kellcy Ayebaemi-Dio Chairman, Torusun fishing communities settlements said on Wednesday that the volume of oil leak has overwhelmed the predominantly fishing population.
He said that the spill has thrown residents of about 41 fishing settlements in the Nembe speaking area of Bayelsa out of business following the pollution of the waters and subsequent contamination of their fishing gear.
“Our Artisanal fishing vocation has been threatened and halted abruptly and daily income that used to come from our daily expedition has ceased for about three weeks now.
“Life has been difficult and we are even exposed to gas pollution on a daily basis. The well, we are meant to understand is a gas well consisting 80 per cent of has and 20 percent of crude and all the response has been on oil recovery and nothing is done about gas.
” The ration speaks volumes of the dangers before us as our people face respiratory difficulties.
“We are told that Aiteo sent relief materials but the quantity that trickled down to each community of about 200 people and was less than two bags of rice, garri, beans and the relief materials were grossly inadequate and we have lost daily income while the leak lasted.
” We urge the Bayelsa government to emulate Aiteo and come to our aid at this point of been, the state earns billions of oil derivation monthly and uses it to run the government while neglecting us, this is the right time for them to show empathy to us,” he said.
It would be recalled that Bayelsa government had berated the pace of response by Aiteo to the spill incident and their inability to plug the pinging leak and warned the oil firm to be ready to take responsibility for polluting the waterways.