The residents of Oruma-Yibama, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa, have alleged that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is yet to clean up an oil spill that occurred in the area on June 2.
The Chairman of Oruma-Yibama Community Development Committee, Eliot Igbigikeme, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Oruma-Yibana on Sunday.
He said that the spill flowed from Odau into the community through the natural water channels in the area. He said the community was concerned about the negative impact of continued exposure to crude oil.
The community leader said the spill had exposed the residents to health risks and devastated the environment.
“Shell is a difficult company to understand. When there is a spill of this nature, instead of it to promptly take steps to clean-up, the company will exhibit some delay tactics.
“Perhaps Shell wants the crude oil to remain and dry up during the dry season. But the crude will still come up when it begins to rain again.
“This is not how it should be and that is why we want Shell to clean the impacted environment. We need immediate clean-up before more harm is done,” he said.
However, Joseph Obari, Shell’s spokesperson, said that the oil company had received reports of the incident from the Oruma-Yibama community.
He said efforts made by the company to confirm the reported spill were thwarted by community members who denied the oil workers access to the site.
“A team dispatched to the area was refused access by the people.
“The company had also tried to investigate another case in a nearby locality, Odau on June 9, 2015, but an armed gang prevented this.
“Since then, repeated efforts to visit the site have been thwarted by the people who chased our personnel away.
“SPDC is concerned that it has not been possible to conduct investigation visits to the sites.
“The safety of our staff and contractors is a priority; so we continue to appeal to the communities to allow us access to the site for investigation of the reported spills,” Mr. Obari said.