Field Reports

  • Tuesday, 9th February 2010

    Location: Diamond Estate, Idimu-Isheri Olofin Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State

    Date:         February 5, 2010

    HIGHLIGHTS
    •    Water sources remain polluted two years after incident was first recorded
    •    Boreholes in affected estate clamped, no alternative provided for owners
    •    NNPC denies responsibility, schemes to evade liability

    ERA/FoEN monitors visited Diamond Estate, a prototype housing property with about 550 houses located along Iyana Iba-Igando Expressway in Idimu-Isheri Olofin Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on February 4 and 5, 2010 in response to a Save Our Soul (SOS) received on ERA’s dedicated green lines.  

    Diamond Estate is sandwiched between Solous –a designated dumpsite in Lagos, and Isheri, a very busy link to Ikotun area of the state.

  • Monday, 9th November 2009

    In the midst of the global call for the end of gas flaring in Nigeria and numerous shifts of the gas flare out date by oil companis operating in Nigeria, Shell ignited a new gas flare furnace in Gbarantoru community in Bayelsa State, Nigeria at about midnight on the 25th of October, 2009. Due to the seriousness of the act by Shell, ERA made a follow up visit on November 5, 2009 to ascertain the current situation.

  • Monday, 2nd November 2009

    Location: Gbarantoru community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria

    Shell should not gas us to death  -Bubraye Dakolo

    INTRODUCTION

    Gbarantoru community is an Ijaw town in Ekpetiama Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. It is located on the outskirts of Yenagoa, the State capital. Shell Petroleum Development Company has been operating in the community for many years. The Gbaran/Ubie Gas Gathering Plant is located here.

    HEATING THE AIR, POISONING THE LAND

    Shell’s commencement of a new gas flare at a time when the routine gas flaring has received global condemnation, and with the full knowledge that gas flaring is an illegal activity in Nigeria, is seen by the locals as an act of impunity and total disregard for their health. Gas flaring is a major contributor of global warming greenhouse gases. The commence this destructive activity a few weeks from the climate negotiations in Copenhagen indicates Shell’s disregard for the welfare of humanity and our climate.

  • Tuesday, 15th September 2009
     Large quantity of petroleum products that were not properly cleaned up after the Ijegun pipeline rupture on May 15, 2008 have found its way into water-bearing wells used by residents of the community and may soon lead to massive explosions and loss of lives.

    ERA/FoEN monitors that visited Ijegun, located in Ikotun Local Government of Lagos State on Sunday September 13, 2009 observed that virtually all wells within the axis of the explosion and 14 streets away had large deposits of petrol that could be ignited by the strike of a match.
     
    On May 15, 2008 an earthmover belonging to Hitech, a company constructing the Ijegun-Isolo-Jakande Estate road, slated for dualisation by the Lagos government, ruptured a pipeline which was not properly buried by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The incident led to the death of 40 people, mostly school pupils of a nearby primary school.  More than 15 homes, 20 vehicles and property running into millions of naira were also incinerated.

    ERA/FoEN recommends the NNPC immediately carry out a comprehensive environmental audit of the entire Ijegun Community in line with international best practice, mop up of petroleum products in the wells and compensation of the community people.
  • Friday, 21st August 2009

    Location: Sabon-Barki and Giyel Communities, Jos South LGA, Plateau State

    Introduction
    ERA monitors visited Sabon-Barki community and Gyel District, both in Jos South LGA of Plateau State on August 5, 2009 in response to the growing call by impacted communities for a remediation of the ecological disaster and dislocation wrought on their environment and livelihood by nearly a century of tin mining and the failure of government at the federal and state levels to address the problem.

    The ecological disaster in Sabon-Barki and Gyel mirror the picture in most communities of the Jos Plateau, a region which, in its pristine state (before commercial resource extraction began), is described in the detailed classification of Nigerian vegetation as a transitional zone between the southern and northern guinea savannah.

    Like other communities in the Jos Plateau, the once rich vegetation in both communities is complemented by an extensive sheet of natural minerals in the earth’s crust such as bauxite, tantalite, columbine ores, and cassiterite, among others. These were however exploited recklessly by foreign companies of the colonial era before they were forced to leave in 1972 when the Federal Government nationalized them. 

  • Friday, 19th June 2009
    A five-member team led by Mr. Nnimmo Bassey visited the displaced people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, currently camped in a hospital complex in Ogbeh Ijoh, a community close to Aladja town in Delta State. The visit was undertaken to see the situation of the displaced people as well as provide basic relief items to augment their needs. Most importantly, the visit served as a symbolic gesture to show that the Gbaramatu people are not alone in their ordeal. The people of Gbaramatu kingdom had fled their homes in the wake of the May 2009 bombardment of their communities by the Nigerian Federal Government troops. The military bombardment comprising aerial and sea raids was undertaken according to the Nigerian government for the purpose of dislodging and containing militants’ activities at Camp 5, situated close to Gbaramatu kingdom.

    Continue to the full report

  • Monday, 11th May 2009

    Introduction

    Following ERA’s first visit to the two spill sites at Kalaba and the ensuing reports, Africa Independent Television (A.I.T) developed interest and decided to visit the sites with ERA. This visit became necessary in view of the fact that ERA’s first report indicated that a spill point along the pipeline was still spewing petroleum product into the environment two months after it was noticed by the community and Agip.

     

    At Kalaba

    The ERA/ AIT team was received at the community town hall. After explaining their mission to the community, the chiefs, elders and other community leaders expressed happiness at the visit and gave approval for the team to go about their mission in the community. A.I.T’s Ovieteme George then went ahead to request for interview with some of the community folks, including the paramount ruler of the community. This was captured on video by the camera man, Charles Kosipre.

  • Monday, 11th May 2009

    Introduction

    Ikarama has been in the news for some time now as one of the most polluted communities in the Niger Delta. The pollution of Ikarama environment has been through oil spillages from ruptured pipelines owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). Instead of proper clean up of the several spill sites in the community, Shell has allegedly resorted to setting fire to such spill impacted sites; a very wrong approach to clean up. The last of such fires occurred on Sunday 1st of March, 2009.

     

    Though none of the spill impacted sites has been cleaned, Shell’s recent claim in the media that they have commenced clean up in oil spill impacted sites in Ikarama prompted ERA to visit the community with the Africa Independent Television (AIT) to confirm or place Shell’s claim in perspective. ERA and AIT visited Ikarama on April 24, 2009.

     

  • Monday, 11th May 2009
    Introduction

    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.

     

  • Wednesday, 15th April 2009

    Highlights

    • Oil spill pollutes Kalaba environment
    • Two months after, Agip yet to clamp leaking pipeline

     

    Introduction
    Kalaba is one of the six communities that make up Okordia clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. This Ijaw speaking community is located along the Taylor Creek. Kalaba’s neighbours include Ikarama, Ayamabele, and Akumoni. Like most host communities, Kalaba is being negatively impacted by oil exploration and exploitation. The community is still suffering from the negative effects of Agip’s oil pipelines ruptured in February 2009. Environmental Rights Action [ERA] monitors visited the community on April 15, 2009.

     

    At Kalaba
    Mr. Roman Orukali, Chairman of the Community Development Committee [CDC] lead ERA monitors to the spill sites, across the Taylor Creek. As the monitors approached the first site, they heard the sound of gushing crude before they saw it. The ruptured Agip pipeline has been spewing crude oil into the environment since February and Agip is yet to clamp it.

     

    Testimonies

    Mr. Roman Orukali

    Chairman of the Community Development Committee [CDC]

    “This pipeline belongs to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company [N.A.O.C]. It is identified as the Taylor Creek Location 11/13 Pipeline. The oil spill occurred on the pipeline on two spots, about seven hundred metres apart from each other. Agip has come to clamp one of the spill points but failed to clamp the other. Before they came to clamp, it took them over three weeks after they noticed the spill. These spills occurred at spots that had ruptured some time in the past. It was due to equipment failure. You can see how our swamp and general environment is being impacted. We are still lucky because this thing happened during the dry season; it would have found its way into the Taylor creek if it were to be during the rainy season. This is how we have continued to suffer in silence from the oil exploitation activities of Agip.”

     

    Chief Idoniboye Nwalia

    Paramount Ruler of Kalaba community.

    “I must express my gratitude to ERA for their mission to our community. We experienced two major oil spills in February, 2009. Though one of the leaking spots has been clamped by Agip, the other unclamped spot, as you must have noticed when you went to the site, is still spewing high volumes of crude oil into our environment. Not too long ago, an oil spill from our neighbouring community, Ikarama, also devastated our ponds and lakes behind the community. Later, we saw a huge fire from the Ikarama spill sites. That fire impacted negatively on us as it destroyed our farms, and economic trees like the raffia palm trees (our local zinc used for roofing). The two current oil spills from Agip pipeline in our community have equally damaged our natural swamps, trees, herbs and the general environment.

     

    The two spills occurred about the same period in February, 2009.  We were surprised that it took Agip over three weeks to come for the clamping of one of the spots. More surprising is the fact that two months after these spills, Agip has not considered it fit to come and clamp the remaining spot. Before clamping the spot they did, Agip visited the site up to four times. Though Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) has been concluded, I wonder how many times they will visit again before clamping the remaining spot, and saving our environment from total destruction.

     

    A Joint Investigation Visit to the spill sites has been carried out. The report revealed that the spill was due to equipment failure. Our representative signed the JIV report and because we insisted on having our own copy, they reluctantly gave us a photocopy. Those two spots have ruptured in the past. The pipes, if my memory is right, were laid in 1987; over 20 years ago.

     

    In the light of the above, I would like to call on the authorities to direct Agip to return to site. Agip should show some corporate responsibility. After all, the spill was not caused by us, it was their own fault; equipment failure is their fault. So, government should prevail on Agip to effect clamping on their pipeline. This crude oil has been leaking since February, 2009 and, I wonder how Agip can feel relaxed over such a thing. Agip should take steps to do what is expected of them. After clamping, we expect Agip to clean up our environment because they are deliberately polluting our environment by their negligence. We also want Agip to carry out remedial measures to restore the fertility of the land and swamps. No doubt, we expect compensation from Agip for this deliberate damage to our environment.”

     

    Other community folks who were present when the Chief spoke to ERA include Mr. Ogbolosingha Dennis, Mr. Tamuno Gordon and the C.DC. Chairman Mr. Roman Orukali. Before ERA departed, Mr. Ogbolosingha Dennis pointed to the fact that the construction of the Agip pipeline in their environment did not take into consideration the livelihood concerns of the people. In his words:

     

    “Our fish paths have been blocked. During the floods there are natural paths through which fish gets into our swamps, lakes and ponds. The construction of oil pipelines have denied us all these; they have blocked most of the paths. This is another sad aspect of the oil companies. They seem not to care about what the natives feel or do for a living. They consider us fools who know nothing but we are not”.

     

    Observation

    One major observation about this particular spill is that the colour is just like that of kerosene. Some women and youths were seen collecting it. Some from other communities come to collect it for use in their houses saying they use it directly in stoves and lanterns without the usual danger associated with petrol.

     

    Conclusion/Recommendations

    It is shocking that Agip has allowed continuous spewing of the content from its pipeline into the environment for over two months. In view of the danger the act poses to the environment and people of Kalaba, it is hereby recommended that:

    • Agip moves to site immediately to clamp the leaking spot.
    • The authorities compel Agip to act responsibly, to avoid further damage to the ecosystem and, to forestall violence.
    • Agip ensures proper clean up and remediation of the environment.
    • Agip compensates the Kalaba community.

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