Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has expressed displeasure with Aiteo Group over the company’s failure to stop the ongoing oil spill in Santa Barbra Well 1, OML 29, more than two weeks after the leak started.
To this end, the governor has charged the oil firm to be prepared for the consequences of their inaction, warning that the state government will not fold its arm and watch Aiteo put humans, aquatic lives and the environment in jeopardy.
Governor Diri pointedly expressed dissatisfaction with the inability of Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company to plug ongoing leaks at its field in Nembe, two weeks after the incident.
The governor, in a statement by his Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba, advised indigenes and residents affected by the spills to be law abiding and remain peaceful, assuring them of his commitment to their wellbeing at all times.
According to the statement, the governor was highly disappointed that the operator of the oil asset has neglected to take any concrete step since the November 5, 2021 equipment failure was reported to it.
”Governor Douye Diri wondered why the massive spill has continued unabated, leading to extensive pollution of the rivers, waterways and farmlands in Nembe Local Government Area, even when the company management is aware of the situation.
“Governor Douye Diri is gravely concerned that if the high volume of crude being spilled continuously is not stopped immediately, it will spread to many more communities and undermine the economic life of residents who are predominantly farmers and fishermen.
“The Governor is particularly disappointed that the management of Aiteo has continued to play the ostrich and is yet to shot-in its failed facilities.
“Aiteo should not assume that this criminal neglect of its facilities and disregard for human life and the environment, as demonstrated by its conduct, will not be accounted for.”
Meanwhile, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency has said that the cause of the Aiteo spills could not be ascertained, as the intensity of the pressure and magnitude of the leak was hampering investigations.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa, disclosed that other oil firms in the country, under the auspices of Clean Nigeria Associates, have been drafted to join Aiteo in recovery of spilled crude.
It will be recalled that the ongoing gas and oil spill from Aiteo facility in OML 29 which has been spewing unabated, reportedly claimed the life of a four-year-old toddler in Nembe Bassambiri yesterday, due to respiratory challenges caused by toxicity of the air.