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Don’t conceal analysis of fresh crude oil spill, ERA tells NOSDRA

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The Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Bayelsa State government not to conceal the result of laboratory analysis of the sample of fresh crude oil deposits discovered in the state. 

The Bayelsa State Head of ERA/FoEN, Mr. Alagoa Morris, made the call in a field report on the discovery around Otuabula II community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

A team, comprising officials of the state government, NOSDRA and ERA/FoEN accompanied by the head of landlord family, Thompson Okpukpu-isi, and security personnel recently visited the site.

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The report quoted Governor Douye Diri’s Senior Special Assistant on Oil and Gas, Mr. Timi Seimiebo, who led the team, as saying that NOSDRA took samples of the crude oil for laboratory test during the visit to Otuabula II bush.

Seimiebo said: “It is a virgin place and everybody has seen there is no pipeline here. So, we cannot say it is a pipeline leakage. We have asked the community people whether there are any bunkering activities going on here and they said no.

Anybody doing local refinery operations here, they said no.

“So, the next thing is for the federal and state governments to take action. Firstly, we wait for the test result to come out, and then other necessary steps will follow.

“If the result shows that it is a refined crude oil substance, the fingerprint will tell us which company owns it. That’s the simple truth. However, if it turns out to be new discovery, it will eventually add to the state’s revenue.”

Morris, however, urged the state government and NOSDRA to make public the result of the laboratory analysis and also inform the landlord family, community and stakeholders, accordingly.

He advocated that the landlord family and the community should never be sidelined, if the result of the sample turned out to be genuine fresh crude oil, especially in negotiations.

“… The issue of best environmental practices by oil companies should always be stressed, whenever new negotiations are to be initiated with host communities, including renewal of MoUs, to avoid the bitter experiences host communities go through.”

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