Sunday, December 5, 2021 9:00 am
Northern youths under the aegis of the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement and Association of Northern Youth Groups, have queried Governor Douye Diri’s claims regarding the recent oil spillage at Nembe, Bayelsa State.
They reasoned that the governor appeared to be politicising the incident by exaggerating the extent of the spill.
The OML 29 Wellhead in the Santa Barbara South field in Nembe, Bayelsa State blew up on November 3, 2021.
Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who jointly own the well, have been reported to have since brought the leak under control.
Diri, on Wednesday returned from visiting the oil spill site in Nembe Local Government Area (LGA).
A statement by his spokesperson Dan Alabrah claimed that an estimated two million barrels of crude had been spilled into the river, polluting the flora and fauna of the area.
It claimed that the spill was worse than the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill which resulted in the death of 11 workers, discharged four million barrels of oil over an 87-day period and is the largest spill of oil in the history of marine oil drilling operations.
But, speaking through their President and Convenor, .Mallam Kabiru Yusuf the northern groups said the facts showed that Diri’s claims were false.
Yusuf said: “Douye Diri is a 1990 Bachelor of Education and Political Science graduate from the University of Port Harcourt with no previous knowledge, experience, or involvement in either oil production or the environment.
“Yet he has manfully opined that the Nembe spill is worse than the Gulf of Mexico spill.”
He noted that the well was last known to be producing only about 700bpd of hydrocarbon fluid, wondering where the governor got his two million barrels of crude figure.
He added: “From a person in authority of such elevation, this is extreme misinformation stemming from willful ignorance or dark motive.
“To place matters in context, the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8 to 31 percent larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I Oil Spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Comparisons between the two or three scenarios with the Nembe incident bespeaks nothing short of a wicked, mischievous conspiracy..”
Yusuf noted that the OML 29 Well 1 platform experienced a wellhead gas/crude blowout.
He said: “On November 5, AEEPCO reported a major oil leak from its Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, the Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe, Bayelsa State from a blowout which was spewing oil into the immediate water bodies and contiguous communities and fumes in the air.
“Following available information, the well in question is a non-producing well in respect of which no production had taken place before 2015 when the company assumed operatorship.
“Aware that the spill situation was time-sensitive and rightly so, Aiteo activated technical containment measures and quickly invited highly competent foreign-based technical experts with experience of managing emergencies of this nature to help arrest the situation.
“The firm has since mobilized to ground zero and has fully deployed measures to contain the leak including an effective fast-track spill recovery programme.
“In addition to this has been high level, community targeted community-targeted measures that has been providing provide relief and health related support to those immediately affected.”
Yusuf lamented that President Muhammadu’s efforts at reorganising and reforming the crucial sector are being serially undermined by these kinds of claims and “forces whose motives are diabolical.”
He warned the forces to stop their politisation, in the country’s interest.”