The Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called for establishment of specialised laboratories for oil spill related tests to resolve spill related conflicts in the Niger Delta region.
ERA/FoEN made the appeal in a report on a September 2017 spill incident at Agip’s 10” Tebidaba-Clough-creek pipeline in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Clean up of the oil leak which discharged some 180 barrels of crude into the environment was delayed until Bayelsa government waded in to resolve the disagreement.
According to Mr. Marco Rodondi , General Manager, District , Nigeria Agip Oil company , the community-Agip conflict frustrated clean up efforts which is currently at the final stages.
The report urged the federal, state governments and interventionist agencies in the Niger Delta region to set up the laboratory to ensure swift resolution of oil spill pollution related conflicts between oil firms and their host communities.
According to the report, signed by Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN the laboratories would conduct confirmatory tests in tracing sources of oil leaks as well as environmental toxicology tests to confirm clean up of spill sites.
The group noted that the endless arguments between Agip officials and Apoi community in Bayelsa impacted by the spill site would have been avoided if functional reference laboratories were in place.
“There is need for the Bayelsa government to collaborate with Federal Government interventionist agencies like Niger Delta Development Commission and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on pollution cases.
“These stakeholders should work to establish a functional, standard science laboratory.
“This is with a view to make it easier for our communities and other individuals affected in connection with water, land and air pollution to get samples analyzed.
“This is very critical because it will assist all stakeholders, Cleanup contractors, impacted communities and oil companies concerned,” ERA/FoEN said.
The NGO quoted a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the oil spill incident as stating that out of 180 barrels of crude that leaked into the environment, 124 barrels have been recovered.
ERA/FoEN regretted that 56 barrels of spilled Crude oil has not been accounted for in connection with this spill.
“There is need for soil and water samples to be collected from the disputed environment for scientific analysis; in view of the toxic nature of crude oil to the environment and need for proper cleanup.
“All stakeholders need to be involved in this exercise, including regulatory agencies, oil firms and community” ERA/FoEN stated.