Field Reports

  • Field Report #371: Commissioner leads Special Inter-Ministerial team on JIV to Polluted Site
    Thursday, 2nd April 2015

    Highlight: Shell’s Seibou spill confirmed as equipment or material failure
    Location: From Ogboinbiri axis, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State
    GPS Coordinate: Elev -11m N 04°49.610’ E 005°54.737’ [at the wellhead site where the spill occurred

    INTRODUCTION:
    Following ERA/FoEN earlier visit to Keme-Ebiama and a related report, the Bayelsa State Government through the Office of the Commissioner for Environment, Iniruo Wills convened a meeting with some impacted communities. Shell and community representatives were invited to discuss on the way forward. The communities that attended include: Ogboinbiri, Azagbene, Gbaraun, Keme-Ebiama and Kokologbene. Of these, the first three were regarded as communities hosting the facilities. A date was picked for all stakeholders to visit the spill site for an official investigation to ascertain the cause of spill. An invitation was extended to ERA/FoEN to be part of the government team to the spill site, from the ministry of environment.

    On Friday 13th March, 2015 the Special Inter-Ministerial Committee on Environment was led by Mr. Inirou Wills and his ministry of agriculture counterpart to the spill site at Ogboinbiri. Apart from the members of the Special Inter-Ministerial Committee represented, the print and electronic media were represented by Africa Independent Television (AIT) and News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). The team went in two gunboats manned by the Joint Task Force (JTF) and one Passport marine craft. The team first landed at Agip’s Ogboinbiri flow station where a brief meeting was held with Shell representatives and community leaders before heading to the Seibou deep spill site at the end of a canal.

  • Field Report #370: Fresh Spill at Agip’s Tebidaba/Ogboinbiri pipeline
    Thursday, 12th March 2015

    Location: Ikebiri, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (LGA), Bayelsa State

    INTRODUCTION:
    Ikebiri community [Kingdom] is one of the communities that make up Olodiama clan in Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State. It has about nine oil wells being operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC]. Ikebiri Kingdom comprises of Ikebiri 1, 2, 3 and several fishing settlements. As far as oil exploration/exploitation activities are concerned, Ikebiri kingdom has suffered from some of the negative impacts, especially oil spills. While some of the spills were attributed to third party interference, others were confirmed to have been caused by equipment failure. The current oil spill in contention was discovered by NAOC and the community later got the information.

    A Joint Investigation Visit [JIV] was to be made to the spill site on Thursday, 19th February, 2015 but apart from community representatives, Agip and the other relevant agencies failed to appear. This necessitated the shifting of the JIV to the next day (Friday, 20th February, 2015). Although the spill was confirmed to have been caused by equipment failure; the JIV was inconclusive on Friday as there was disagreement on the volume of crude oil spewed into the environment, more so as the spill must have continued for a long time before it was discovered. The spill was left unstopped after the inconclusive JIV. Besides visiting the spill site on 19th February, 2015 ERA/FoEN followed up with phone calls to confirm the outcome of the JIV from community leaders.

  • Field Report #369: Shell conceals spill from facility
    Tuesday, 3rd March 2015

    Highlight: Spill has spread to impact Keme-Ebiama and other communities downstream.
    Location: From Ogboinbiri axis, Southern Ijaw local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
    Occupation: Fishing and farming are the means of livelihood of the people.

    INTRODUCTION
    When information reached ERA/FoEN that the people of Keme-Ebiama were experiencing a major oil spill and the whole river had been covered by heavy volume of crude oil, it became urgent to visit the community and environs; more so as the current of the river there flows in just one direction.
    Before setting sail, ERA/FoEN also received information that the source of the spill was Shell’s Seibou Deep facility and that several downstream communities had been impacted following the water current-aided spread. Communities mentioned include: Keme-Ebiama, Apoi, Kokologbene, Gbaruan, Ukubie, Lobia, among others. For the records, Shell has three wellheads at the end of a Canal it constructed some years ago. The canal is just by Ogboinbiri community but goes relatively far into the interior and, where the three wellheads are located is said to be jointly claimed/owned by Ogboinbiri, Gbaruan and Azagbene communities. The oil spill was said to have happened over a month ago but Shell used booms to contain it within the canal; preventing it from spreading into the Ogboinbiri River which is fast flowing and in one direction only. The cause of spill was not immediately ascertained.

  • Field Report 368: Agip Facility in Kalaba records first spill in 2015
    Tuesday, 10th February 2015

    This is about the fourth month since field monitors of ERA/FoEN visited Kalaba community and environs in connection with fresh oil spill incidents. The last time ERA/FoEN visited was in September 2014. More than one spill occurred within that month. Since then there has been no reported case of oil spill within the environment until 12th January, 2015 when information reached us from community leadership of a fresh spill. The spill point was said to emitting gas and, oil was yet to  spew from the point of rupture. ERA/FoEN promptly informed some top management staff of Agip and urged the company to take advantage of the scenario [then] and promptly mobilize to site for clamping before more harm was done. Though Agip responded that the information was earlier received, it was surprising to observe that the company failed to take any positive remedial action until the spill point increased and crude oil spewed into the environment.

    Anticipating Agip had taken action, when ERA/FoEN field monitors arrived at the spill point two weeks after following a save our souls from the community, the team was astonished that this was the same spill that it had urged Agip to attend to more than two weeks earlier. This report gives a brief of what we met at the spill site and heard from community folks.

  • 2015:Reject Parties Without Environmental Concerns On Their Manifesto
    Tuesday, 27th January 2015

    The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), OILWATCH and the Host Communities Network (HOCON) have asked Nigerians to reject political parties and aspirants to political offices who do not have concerns about environmental degradation and strategies of reversing livelihoods’ loss on their agenda.

    Mr Philip Jakpor, Head of Media, ERA/FoEN in a statement in Lagos, quoted the groups as advising Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands by voting wisely in the upcoming elections or remain in perpetual servitude.

    ERA/FoEN Executive Director Godwin Ojo said: “We believe that the elections present another great prospect for Nigerians to decide the course that the ship of state must take in the next four years. It is an opportunity to demand good governance and accountability, to check corporate misrule, corruption, total disregard for local livelihoods and reckless degradation of the environment, violence, and theft which continue to plague our land.”

  • Wednesday, 29th October 2014

    Location:  Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC] Base, Twon-Brass, Brass local government area.
    Date of Visit:  16th October, 2014
    INTRODUCTION:
    Agip has several facilities in Bayelsa State. They include oil wells, pipelines, manifolds and flowstations. Most of the crude oil from the company’s swamp area are channeled to Twon- Brass, a community on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean. Agip’s highest facility a tank farm and export terminal are in that vicinity. It would be recalled that, although there are several reported cases of oil spills from the company’s facilities in Bayelsa State,  there was a major operational failure and spill incident at the Brass Terminal loading point on 27th November, 2013. Information at ERA/FoEN’s disposal indicates that Agip paid some money to impacted communities to take care of relief and recently paid another N24 million (twenty four million naira) to communities such as Odioama in connection with the 27th November, 2013 spill.

    For quite some time some concerned citizens of Twon-Brass have expressed concern about the crude oil pollution along the Agip canal around the community. This canal runs through the Agip premises into the Brass River and eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The Bayelsa State ministry of environment also, very recently expressed concern on the condition of the canal in question, especially as it concerns the release of effluents from Agip [crude oil inclusive] into the flowing body of water. In the light of the above, it was not really surprising for ERA/FoEN to be alerted on the night of Wednesday, 15th October, 2014 that the Minister of Environment Mrs. Lawrencia Labara-Malla was to visit Agip’s Brass facility the next day.

  • Special Field Report on Total’s Pollutions in Egiland: Follow-up visit to some communities impacted by Total/Elf operations.
    Friday, 24th October 2014

    Location: Egiland,Ogba kingdom of Ogba/Egbema Ndoni  Local Government Area, Rivers State
    Date of Visit:  Monday 6 October, 2014

    In 2012 the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN] visited some communities in Egi clan thrice starting April through 1st October 2012. The visits referred to are in connection with the operational failure and multiple gas eruptions which occurred in April 2012. While the very first visit was embarked upon by ERA/FoEN alone, other environmental/human rights groups and journalists were part of the second time, while the third comprised of the earlier groups and the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology led by Senator Bukola Saraki.

    The people of Egi clan are mostly farmers unlike the Ogoni and Ijaws that are more situated in the riverine areas. Besides farming, they also engage in palm cutting and hunting activities. Aside environmentally related concerns of the people; in terms of their health and livelihood, complaints are rife that Total/Elf’s operation has denied them of their farmlands a development best described as land grab.

    ERA/FoEN was reliably informed that when Total/Elf first entered Egiland in 1962 for oil exploration and exploitation in 1964 it went by the name SAFRAPH but later metamorphosed into Total/Elf and now E/P.The need to revisit some of the communities impacted by the 2012 multiple gas eruptions became necessary on 6 October 2014 to ascertain the situation of the environment and what the company must have done to alleviate the plight of victims; especially in terms of clean-up, compensation and land grab related complaints.

  • Wednesday, 15th October 2014

    The occurrence of oil spills in Ikarama community environment every now and then cannot be over emphasized. The spills from facilities belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC] and Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC] happens either within the immediate environment near living homes, farms and swamps or inside the community forest impacting farmlands, ponds, lakes, swamps and streams. While some of the spills are attributed to equipment or operational failure, most are associated with third part interference. Ikarama is one of the six Ijaw communities which make up Okordia clan in Yenagoa LGA and has the highest frequency of spill incidents in Bayelsa State. The current spill was raging inside Shell’s Okordia manifold when field monitors of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN] visited.

  • Field report #364: Danger Signals and urgent need to prevent sabotage on pipelines in Ikarama
    Thursday, 28th August 2014

    Location: Ikarama community, Okordia clan, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State
    Occupation: The people depend on their environment for fishing, farming, weaving, hunting and logging activities.
    Date of Visit:  10th August, 2014

    Photo: Old spill site photo from Ikarama.

    The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria [ERA/FoEN] had to visit Ikarama in the early hours of Sunday August 10 following information that some youths in the community engaged as surveillance workers were dissatisfied with recent information from Shell and that they were threatening to sabotage oil facilities within the environment and cause spills. The visit became very urgent to confirm the development.
    For long ERA/FoEN had monitored the Ikarama community environment and came to the conclusion that the frequency of oil spills was higher than in any other community in the state. It is important to note that ERA/FoEN has observed three main causes of spills in the community environment. They include: Operational failure [especially inside the Manifold], equipment failure and sabotage.

  • Field report #362: Bonga Oil Spill Devastate IIaje Communities
    Tuesday, 12th August 2014

    Location: Ayetoro, Ilaje Local Government Area, Ondo Sttae

    DATELINE: JULY 31, 2014

    In May 2014, representatives of 108 riverside communities in IIaje Local Government Area of Ondo State sent a Save Our Soul to the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NAMASA) in respect of the Bonga oil spill that occurred on December 20, 2011 during Shell’s routine export operation to transfer crude oil from its facility. The representatives of the IIaje communities complained they have been battling strange diseases since the oil spill which also affected their waters.

    Following the SOS, ERA/FoEN carried out a visit to the areas still impacted by the Bonga incident. The visit was to find out what actions were taken by Shell after the spill. During the visit, since ERA/FoEN learnt the IIaje communities had earlier reported to the Ondo State Ministry of Environment their predicament as a result of the spill. It was learnt that the Ministry of Environment did not take any action to solve their problems. The victims spoke freely and were very bitter about Shell’s neglect. Mahin, Abereke, Ayetoro communities, all along the Ondo State coastline in IIaje Local Government Area, were visited during the field monitoring exercise.

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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

This group issues out communications using ERA's headquarter address and mail box. We have never had any ties with this group and any views, comments or opinions expressed by them is not endorsed or authorized by any member of management or staff of ERA.

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Is there a spill, pipeline rupture, fire, gas flare, water, land or air pollution in your community or one you know about? Do you need assistance to respond, and prevent future occurrences or have you noticed any activity that threatens the environment?

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