Foropa, a fishing settlement along the Atlantic coastline in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, has reported a ‘mystery’ oil spill that left the coastline polluted.
Mystery spills refer to crude oil leaks from unknown sources where many oil firms are operating near each other.
A January 8 notification letter signed by P. Olabai Olozulu, the traditional ruler of Foropa, Middleton, indicated that the oil leak at the coastline was noticed on January 3.
The letter was addressed to the Head of Bayelsa Office of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital.
The letter sighted by NAN on Wednesday stated that six oil firms operate within the Foropa vicinity of Southern Ijaw LGA.
The companies include First E & P, Conoil Exploration, NEPL, Shell, and Nigdel United Oil Company.
The community urged the regulatory agency and other government organs to trace the source of the spill and mitigate its impact on the predominantly fishing settlement.
The community also urged the oil firms to mobilise relief materials to reduce the suffering of the people.
Chukwuemeka Iheanacho, head of NOSDRA in Bayelsa, confirmed that the agency was in receipt of the report and was planning a joint visit to the impacted site with all the oil companies operating in the area.
Iheanachor said a ‘fingerprinting’ analysis of the crude samples from the site would reveal the operator whose facility discharged the crude into the environment.
“We are planning a joint investigation visit by next Tuesday. I am writing to all the operators within the area to send their representatives because samples will be collected for fingerprinting,” Iheanacho said.
Darius Sese, Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC) in Foropa, who spoke in a telephone chat with NAN on Wednesday, said that the incident had adversely impacted fishing in the area.
He said that fishermen no longer made catch since the spill occurred as fish had migrated deeper into the Atlantic waters away from the coastline. NAN