Farmers in Okogbe clan, in the Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State are counting their losses after an oil spill destroyed farmland, crops and fish ponds worth millions of naira.
It was gathered that two separate spills from Okordia-Rumuekpe pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company and Ogoda-Brass pipeline operated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) occurred in the area around the middle of 2020.
Some of those affected claimed that the spills, which was not cleaned, was dispersed by flood into the surrounding communities, culminating in a fire which devastated farmlands, streams, forest and other sources of livelihoods
One of the farmers, Dr Patricia Ogbonnaya, said she noticed crude oil in her farmland in December 2020, adding that despite several letters to the multinational companies to ensure a proper clean-up, they ignored her.
Ogbonnaya stated, “There are laws that guide the operations of these multinationals; these laws are being upheld in other places, but in Niger Delta and Ekpeyeland particularly, these laws are ignored.”
A monarch in the area, HRH Ikaki Ikaki, said the action of the companies had brought untold hardship to those who rely on farm produce for survival.
“What played out here is really pathetic and we are surprised that up to this time, Shell and Agip have not come to compensate our people. The farm has been very helpful to our people. Traders come here, company come here;the buy fish.
“The forest is majorly affected by the flood. So, we are calling on SPDC and Agip to come to our aid, clean this spill,” he pleaded.
The spokesman for Shell, Bamidele Odugbesan, said he would get back to our correspondent, but had yet to do so as of press time.
The spokesman for Agip, Dennis Masi, neither answered calls to his mobile nor responded to a test message sent to him.