Angiama community is an Ijaw community situated along the River Nun, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. It takes less than one hour from Yenagoa, the state capital, by speedboat. Some of Angiama’s neighbours include Oporoma, Ayama and Aguobiri; all in the same local government area. Angiama is host to Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC] and Nigeria Agip Oil Company [NAOC]. Field monitors of the Environmental Rights Action [ERA] visited this rural settlement to follow up reports relating to recent oil spills and pollution of the environment. The double oil spills were associated with Agip.


At Angiama

On arrival, ERA monitors met with the Chairman of the Community Development Committee [CDC]; Secretary of the C.D.C, Mr. Gilbert Iniomeni and the Chairman of Angiama Council of Chiefs. The Council Chiefs Chairman, Chief Willing Christopher, invited some members of the community including those who owned lands around the polluted spill sites to lead ERA to the spill sites. It was agreed that interviews would be granted after ERA has seen the spill sites and damages caused by the oil spills and fire.



After visiting the spill sites, ERA monitors got some testimonies from the community folks.


Chief Willing Christopher

Chairman, Angiama Council of Chiefs

“Like I informed you when you arrived, the report you heard before visiting our community was correct. You have seen the devastation of the environment caused by the oil spills. You will bear us witness that we have suffered a lot of damage as a result of the oil spill and fire. There are two spill sites: one behind the community and the other on the other side of the town, across the River Nun. Creeks/ rivulets, economic trees, food crops, fishing nets/ traps, etc were all impacted seriously. Even the water that the ordinary man can fetch from the creeks and drink is severely polluted. Not everyone can afford to buy sachet water to drink so some still drink from the polluted water source; a situation which puts the lives of such persons in real danger. Some have fallen ill shortly after drinking such water.

In addition to the pollution caused our land and water, we also suffer atmospheric pollution. From the fire that followed the oil spill behind our town, we have experienced air pollution too. We have been complaining about the gas flare from Shell’s Flow Station at Oporoma for long so I know what I am talking about. Our roofing sheets no longer last long; deteriorating soon after they are laid on the roofs. We cannot be suffering all these simply because we have oil around us. Instead of benefiting from these oil and gas resources, we are rather suffering the negative effects. Shell’s supply of diesel to enable us power the community generator has been suspended for several months now. Hence the natural water from the River and creeks around us is what we rely on for everything requiring the use of water.

In the light of the above, I seize use this opportunity of your visit to call on both the Government and Agip to send us relief materials like drugs, water, food stuff and fishing nets. The community also requests that an investigation team be instituted to find out the cause of the oil spills and fire and our representatives should be part of the team. I am aware that when such things happen, there are procedures. I would request that such laid down procedures be followed. For instance, Agip should clean up the impacted environment; land and water. The company should also pay compensation for the destruction of our economic trees, crops and fishing gears”.            


Ambrose Eteli

Land owner and former Chairman of Angiama C.D.C.

“We are really surprised that Agip could deceive us. They told us when this pipeline (the OB/OB- Ogboinbiri 24 inches pipe) was being laid that in order to stop gas flare they were constructing the pipeline to transport gas. Today, what is coming out from the pipeline is crude oil not the gas they talked about. You can bear us witness that they lied, they are transporting crude oil in the name of gas. The construction of this pipeline commenced 2005 and it was handled by Daewoo. They completed the job in 2008. Sadly, since these double spills occurred, neither the government nor Agip has visited us; not even the nearest of the governments, the Local Government, with Head Quarters in our neighbouring community Oporoma.”

ERA asked if the community made efforts to report the spills and Ambrose responded:

“Though I reported the matter to Daewoo, we did not bother to report the matter to Agip or the Government because instead of expressing gratitude to such informants, experience has shown that such persons would be arrested. That has been the attitude of oil companies.”

When asked whether Agip was aware of the oil spill along the OB/OB –Ogboinbiri pipeline and the resultant fire, Ambrose replied:

“Agip is very much aware of it. But instead of coming to our community or going to the impacted sites we saw Agip helicopters hovering over the oil spill /fire impacted environment. We know their helicopter. There was a particular day the helicopter came to the area up to six times and hovered around before leaving. It was after that air visit that the pressure of the oil spill reduced; meaning they have shut down the line from their Ogboinbiri base. The oil spills occurred in March, 2009; one of them was on 22nd, March, 2009. Though Agip seemed to have stopped the flow along the pipeline from their station, they are yet to come for clamping.”

Mr. Akuodu Rodney

Landowner at the spill site & former Secretary of Angiama CDC

“For me I don’t have much to say. Even as we call on Agip to come and clamp the ruptured spots along their pipeline, they should stop the unwholesome practice of going to such oil spill sites with arms carrying youths who are not military personnel. I say so because we have heard from other communities that Agip used to go to effect clamping with such armed youths; to intimidate the victims. That in itself is an act of provocation”.


Three women also spoke.


Mrs. Anty Amungo

“My family and I have lost so much to this oil spill and fire. I am particularly worried because my farms around that area were seriously impacted. There is a general impact of the oil spill and fire, but some of us are more affected; those of us whose farm lands and fishing nets were either burnt or damaged by the oil slick on the creeks and rivulets. Some of our farms at the bank of the creeks too were burnt, not only those on main land. Now, apart from the money spent on hiring people during the planting season, my hope of harvesting crops from my labour and money has been dashed. I have lost everything to the oil spill and fire. All my expenses, sweat and robust hope are gone just like that. With this kind of scenario, you can see that my children and I are going into a period of starvation; the period before December, after the floods. This is not only lamentable, it is painful too. If there is anything that you can do to assist us, please I will appreciate it, especially letting the owners of the pipeline know that we have been severely impacted by the oil spills and fire”.


Akpokedi Christopher

“Here in our community, fishing and farming are our main occupations. I am really sad that after planting and tending to our crops, when the time of harvest is near and being awaited with much hope; such a spill has denied us of all our harvest. I personally planted coco yam, okra, sugarcane, yam and other vegetables. If you go to my farms now, almost all the crops have perished. Some of those farms you saw as you went to the spill sites are mine”.


Madam Blacky Duu, another community folk and farmer; confirmed the above.



At the spill fire site, ERA’s field monitors saw a huge fire still burning at the point of rupture along the Agip OB/OB- Ogboinbiri pipeline. A large expanse of land was impacted; crops and other plants including large and small trees were burnt. The creeks and rivulets were severely impacted by the oil slick and their banks showed signs of the effects of fire. The crude oil slick was still heavy and spreading on the surface of these bodies of water. Agip’s sign posts bearing “HIGH PRESSURE GAS PIPELINE” were also observed along the pipeline on both spill sites; on either sides of the River Nun.



ERA recommends that:


     1     The authorities ensure Agip stops the fire and effects clamping of the ruptured pipelines.

2        A Joint Investigation Visit to ascertain the cause of spill and fire be made, with representatives of Angiama community in the team.

3        Agip takes immediate steps to clean up the polluted environment and carry out remediation.

4        Victims of the oil spill and fire be adequately compensated by Agip.

5        Relief materials be sent to take care of the threat of sickness and starvation. This should be extended to Silva River communities as crude oil slick has spread to their environment too.

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