Title:        Observations at Oruma in relation to the oil spill that occurred in 2005
Date:        31/01/08
Location:    Oruma community in Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa State.
From:         Alagoa Morris
On January 31st 2008 ERA's field monitors went on a fact finding visit to Oruma where a major oil spill had occurred in 2005 from Shell Petroleum Development Company's pipeline. Despite the fact that the said spill was attributed to equipment failure, no compensation had been made to the affected community people as at the time of this visit.

On arrival, the visiting team met with the Deputy Paramount Ruler of the community, Chief Fidelis Oguru who granted ERA field monitors an interview. Mr.Alali Afanga, who happened to be the Youth President when the oil spill occurred in 2005 was also interviewed.
When asked as to whether he was a victim of the said spill, Chief Oguru replied "Apart from the great loss I suffered as a result of that spill of 2005, several members of this community equally suffered in one way or the other. I lost several fish ponds to the spill; the slick was in almost all my ponds then. Even now, we can no longer use them. The fecundity of the soil and water in and around the ponds were greatly affected. To say the least, the spill's effect on our means of livelihood almost reduced us to nothing as all our expectations from the ponds that year were dashed. I and my people are only surviving by the grace of God. If I have the means of reaching Shell, I will demand that they come and pay adequate compensation to me and my people for the damages incurred."
On his part, Alali Afanga, who was interviewed in the field as he led the team to the various spill sites said "Yes, I was the Youth President when the spill occurred in 2005.The cause of the spill was corrosion and equipment failure. Most of the ponds I inherited from my late father were affected badly by that spill. It was very shocking to me, even now am yet to recover from the economic loss I suffered as a result .Up till date, we can no longer use the ponds. If I can have access to Shell, I will demand that they come and do the proper thing, compensate me and other community members affected. As we go along you will see that even the clean up they did then still appears fresh in some of the pits where the crude oil was emptied by the contractor, not minding the fact that there are elements of toxicity in such chemicals buried or left open in pits.”

Some of the pictures taken

After that interview session, the team went into seeing things for them selves and, taking photographs of interesting scenarios. Most of the pictures taken were of affected ponds and pits where the clean up Contractor dumped what was scooped from the affected land and ponds. Some of the pits were covered but showing signs of the crude oil around the edges and top. Other pits left uncovered gave more evidence of what happened. It was obvious that most of the pits where crude oil had been dumped were very close to the affected ponds.
ERA's field monitors saw that the land and ponds affected by the said oil spill lays waste as at present. Apart from the ponds abandoned as a result of the spill, the pits where the contractor dumped the crude oil were the most glaring evidence showing a heavily polluted land and environment.
1.  Shell should carry out proper remediation on the affected area.
2.  Shell should pay compensation to the victims.
3.  The government should rise up to defend our communities who suffer unjustly in the hands of oil companies.
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