Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri has described the oil spill at Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe local government of the state has worse than what happened in the gulf of Guinea.
Diri said this when he visited the site of the oil field jointly owned by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He lamented that the oil spill — which started November 5 — was still spewing oil into the water bodies saying that about two million barrels of crude had reportedly been spilled into the river, polluting the environment, thereby affecting biodiversity.
“Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life, I have not seen such magnitude of oil spillage,” Diri said.
The governor called on the federal government and operators of the oil field to immediately take contain the spill, saying that the source of living of the indigenous people was also affected by the spill.
“Our people are endangered. Our people’s source of livelihood is endangered,” the governor said.
“I empathise and sympathise with the people of Nembe on behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State.
“I like to give you hope that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Your government will activate every constitutional means to arrest and redress this magnitude of the oil spill.
“I, therefore, call on the Federal Government, the operators of the oil field, NNPC and AITEO to immediately look for superior technical know-how to contain and stop the spread of the oil.
“For Bayelsa, the only thing we know how to do best is fishing. Today, our own fishing route is endangered. I equally call on the Federal Government to immediately react and ensure that our fishing route is safe.”
Diri also decried the exclusion of host communities in the administration of the oil industry.
According to him, the oil spill problem would have been addressed if the indigenes were part of the operations of the oil field.
To relieve the suffering of the indigenes, the governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the ministry of health to immediately provide relief materials and healthcare services to the people.