The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has asked the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to immediately clamp the gas leakage from the Bemobebe-aka Gas Well in Odimodi Community in Burutu Council of Delta State for security and safety of members of the community.
ERA/FoEN said it received a Save Our Souls (SOS) message from the community on July 5, 2023, lamenting a gas leakage from Bemobebe-aka Gas Facility belonging to Agip, which has not been operational for some time.
The Bemobebe-aka gas well is located on the outskirts of Odimodi Community; a route usually used by fishermen to carry out their fishing activities and farmers to access their farmlands.
The environment around the gas leakage is very toxic and highly polluted. The people of Odimodi are currently at risk of facing severe health implications from inhaling the gas that has circulated around Odimodi in the last few days, coupled with the dangers of a fire outbreak, as gas is highly flammable.
A fisherman, Brakemi Ndoro, who first spotted and reported the leakage to the leadership of the community, said the leakage was discovered about three months ago and is suspected to be as a result of a broken valve from the gas plant.
Chairman of Odimodi Community, Solomon Gbegha, told ERA/FoEN that the leakage was reported to the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), followed by a joint inspection of the leakage by representatives of the community and NOSDRA on June 26, 2023.
He lamented that no other efforts have been made to shut down the leakage after the inspection, adding that the people of Odimodi are now living in fear, as the people have been instructed to stay clear of the gas leakage area until it has been turned off.
Also lending her voice on the issue, the women leader of Odimodi Community, Mrs Silver Michael, appealed to the state government, Agip and other appropriate authorities to come to their aid, as the lives of the people of Odimodi are currently at stake.
Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams said: “The people of Odimodi are currently in distress. After surviving series of spills recorded in 2018 and 2022, they are suffering yet another damage to the environment as a result of gas leakage caused by Agip.
“Despite housing multinational companies, Odimodi has been neglected by the companies, hence the slow response to oil spills and gas leakages. The government needs to implement stringent policies that will regulate and manage the activities of oil multinationals in Odimodi and other host communities.”
ERA/FoEN called on Agip to stop the leakage and urged NOSDRA) to carry out an assessment of the level of air pollution in the area for immediate cleanup.
“We also recommend that a medical team be deployed to Odimodi to examine the health status of the people, after being exposed to such air and environmental pollution. Furthermore, we call on NOSDRA to rise up to its responsibility in implementing contingency plans against oil spills and gas leakages in Odimodi and other host communities,” it added.
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