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Environmentalists, residents lament pollution from Agip’s facility in Bayelsa

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Diri bemoans erosion, seeks release of ecological fund

Environmentalists and residents of the Ogboinbiri Oilfield operated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Southern Ijaw Council Area of Bayelsa State have lamented the dangers faced by indigenes of the area.

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The Guardian learnt that residents of the area fled their homes on Monday following a bad odour from gas leaks as a result of flare from AGIP’s facility.

They said the huge balls of flames emitted unbearable heat, which compelled them to abandon their residences.

A resident of the community, Tiedor Duabor, said the high temperature from the flares forced him and his family members to leave their home in a nearby fishing port.

Also, a field report from the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) noted that the continued pollution caused gas leakages and flares have degraded the quality of air in the area.

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The report, signed by Head, Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Alagoa Morris, revealed that the safety of Ogboinbiri Community where the residents have been exposed to gas flaring daily from NAOC’s flow stations in the area had been compromised.

It, therefore, urged the Federal Government to conduct an environmental audit or post-impact assessment of the community, to be funded by NAOC.

ERA/FoEN described the Ogboinbiri situation as pathetic due to the intensity of the flares from the vertical gas flare stacks in the area, which he said, sometimes caused panic among residents.

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When contacted, Public affairs officials at Eni, the parent company of NAOC, declined comment on the indiscriminate flares and gas leaks in its host community.

MEANWHILE, Governor Douye Diri has bemoaned the devastation caused by erosion in several communities across the state.

Governor Diri, who visited the Obogoro Community in Yenagoa Council, urged the Federal Government to release the ecological funds to ease the state’s erosion control measures.

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Diri, who spoke after inspecting the Saint John’s Primary School, which had been devastated by erosion, directed the Commissioners for Works and Infrastructure and his Environment counterpart, to commence remedial work to salvage the situation in the community.

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted Diri as saying that for the first time under his administration, the state had a sub-head for erosion control in its budget.

On activities of sand dredgers compounding the woes of erosion-threatened communities, Diri directed the Ministry of Environment to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before allowing further commercial dredging activities.

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