Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has been urged to conduct integrity tests on its pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
Gboribiogha John Jonah, deputy governor of Bayelsa State made the call during an on the spot assessment of extent of environmental damage due to oil spillage caused by the eruption of the company’s River Ramos pipeline at Aghoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
He said an integrity test on the pipelines was imperative given the frequency of oil spillages from its operations as well as the fact that a good number of its pipes were laid a long time ago and may have suffered from corrosion.
The deputy governor also blamed SPDC for the delay in carrying out remediation activities and provision of relief materials to residents of the impacted communities as the oil spill occurred about a month ago.
He advised that all the relevant parties must be involved in the joint investigation exercise stressing that it should be conducted in line with international standards and commended the Agboro people for their patience while assuring them of government support.
The member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Fred Agbedi said Aghoro community had suffered two major spills which had devastating effect on both the marine and aquatic life in the community.
Agbedi disclosed that one of the spills had occurred in April at Odimodi in neighbouring Delta State, but the spill extended to Aghoro before the May 17 spill at the River Ramos pipeline.
An indigene of Aghoro community, the federal lawmaker called on both the Federal Government and SPDC to take some urgent steps to alleviate the plight of the people.
Charles Ebulu of SPDC who briefed Jonah at one of the sites said the company was doing everything necessary to contain further spread of the spilled crude and pleaded for understanding from all stakeholders and promised to take issues raised by the deputy governor to the appropriate quarters.
The Amananaowei of Aghoro, Ibamua Ojukonsin lamented that it took SPDC two weeks to take action to contain the spill after it was reported and that while it was eager to carry out repairs on the pipeline to resume crude production, his people were yet to receive any form of compensation from the company.