Fishermen at Odimodi community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State have sent a Save Our Souls (SOS) appeal to the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) over the gas leakage from the Bemobebe-aka Gas Well.
This is even as ERA/FoEN in a statement signed by Communication Officer, Elvira Jordan on Thursday called on Agip to stop the leakage urging the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to conduct an assessment of the level of air pollution in the area for immediate clean up.
The CSOs also recommend that a medical team be deployed to Odimodi, to examine the health status of residents after being exposed to such pollution.
“ERA/FoEN received a Save Our Souls (SOS) from the community on the 5th of July, 2023, lamenting over a gas leakage from Bemobebe-aka Gas Facility belonging to Agip, which has been nonoperational for some time.
“The Bemobebe-aka gas well is located at the outskirts of Odimodi Community; a route that is usually used by fishermen to carry out their fishing activities, and farmers to access their farm lands.
“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 the air space of Odimodi, coupled with the dangers of a fire outbreak, as gas is highly flammable,” the statement reads in part.
According to the statement, a fisherman, Brakemi Ndoro who first spotted and reported the leak to the leadership of the community said the leak was discovered about three months ago and is suspected to be from a broken valve from the gas plant.
The Chairman of Odimodi Community, Solomon Gbegha revealed to ERA/FoEN that the leak was reported to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), followed by a joint inspection of the leakage by the community representatives and NOSDRA on the 26th of June 2023.
According to the chairman, no other efforts have been made to shut the leak after the inspection. He added that the people of Odimodi are now living in fear, as they have been instructed to stay clear of the area until it has been turned off.
Also, lending her voice on the issue, the women leader of Odimodi Community and mother of eight (8), Mrs. Silver Micheal appealed to the government, Agip and the appropriate authorities to come to their aid, as the lives of the people of Odimodi are currently in danger.
ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Chima Williams said: “The people of Odimodi are currently in distress. After surviving a series of spills recorded in 2018 and 2022, they are suffering from damage to their environment, in the form of a gas leakage caused by Agip.”
“Despite housing multinational companies, Odimodi has been neglected by these 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.”
It also called on NOSDRA to rise up to its duties in implementing contingency plans against oil spills and gas leakages in Odimodi and other host communities.