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Fishermen lament spill in Chevron oilfield as IYC shelves closure of NDDC headquarter

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Chevron Company

Some fishermen operating in the Bayelsa State coastline, yesterday, reported an oil spill suspected to be from the Funiwa Oilfield operated by Chevron Nigeria (CNL).

The fishermen from Koluama in Southern Ijaw Council noticed crude on the waters near the oil facility as helicopters were seen hovering over the area.

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A fisherman from the coastal settlement, Tombra Ebitimi, said he noticed the incident at the weekend and reported it to leaders of the community.

He said several helicopters have been deployed to the area for an assessment of the spill, but response efforts were yet to commence.

“Some of us who went on fishing sailed into the oil-contaminated area near the Funiwa Oilfield and got our nets and fishing gear soaked with crude on Saturday and shortly after, we noticed some helicopters flying over the facility.

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“It could be that community leaders have informed the company but our concern is that they should not apply toxic chemicals from the sky to dissolve the oil, as such chemicals used are harmful to fishes and marine life generally,” Ebitimi said.

He said fishermen in the area had temporarily suspended fishing to avoid catching contaminated fishes that could jeopardise public health when consumed.

First Exploration and Production, an indigenous oil firm that operates Oil Mining Leases 83 and 85 acquired from Chevron, following its divestment from some of its assets in the area where it still retained interests in some fields.

Unconfirmed reports also indicated that Conoil might have acquired about 45 per cent stake of the joint venture oil field.

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As of the time of filing this report, officials of Chevron and First Exploration and Production were yet to respond to requests for comments on the incident.

MEANWHILE, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide has shelved its planned protest and shutdown of the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) headquarters over their demand for the appointment of a substantive board for the commission.

Addressing a media briefing in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Spokesman of IYC, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the decision came after wide consultation with stakeholders and critical organs of the IYC resolved to postpone the planned protest.

It, however, cautioned that the appointment of its former President, Udengs Eradiri, should not be understood as a means to silence the Ijaw youths’ agitations for a substantive board for the NDDC.

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