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Monarch seeks more relief for victims of Nembe oil spill



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Nwakamma Nathan

KING Biobelemoye Josiah of Opu-Nembe Kingdom has called for more relief for victims of the recent Nembe oil spillage in Bayelsa State.

The monarch also expressed appreciation to Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State for his empathy over the spillage.

Josiah gave the commendation in a letter addressed to the governor and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja.

An oil well operated by indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, has been discharging oil and gas into Nembe Creeks since November 5.

Although the oil firm has sought foreign technical assistance from a US firm, Boots and Coots, to cap the leak, the discharge is still ongoing.

The traditional ruler lamented the continued destruction done to the environment and the loss of livelihood of the people of Opu-Nembe Kingdom, commending Diri for setting up a committee to assess the extent and effect of the spillage.

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He appreciated the visit of the governor for an on-the-spot assessment of the spillage,  which is yet to be contained for about a month.

”We put on record, the empathy shown by Your Excellency, in providing immediate cushioning financial support to all segments of the kingdom during your visit.

”We further commend you for immediately directing your Deputy to set up an Assessment Committee on Nembe Oil Spillage.

”Your Excellency, my people and I also want to commend you for urging AITEO, whose oil well-head caused the spill, to provide adequate remediation/compensation for affected communities, families, businesses, farmlands/fishing waterways/implements.

”Your Excellency, on behalf of the good people of Opu- Nembe Kingdom, I passionately request that you use your honoured office to ask the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to swiftly distribute relief materials to communities affected by the persistently gushing oil and gas spill.

”Also for the following federal government agencies: The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Regulatory Commissions of the relevant Streams(up, mid and down) in the oil industry, The National Environmental Sanitation and Regulatory Agency (NESREA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) to show more concern for the well-being of my people as well as reduce their sufferings,” he said.

It would be recalled that management of Aiteo had visited the monarch few days after the incident occurred to brief him on response measures to contain the leak, express concerns over the impact of the leak, and donated relief materials.

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A Director of Aiteo Group Andrew Oru had, on Thursday, visited the spill site and said that in addition to an earlier four truck loads of food items and medical supplies, additional five truck loads of relief materials had been handed over to the victims.

President Muhammad Buhari had earlier, on Nov. 25, dispatched Minister of State for Petroleum Chief Timipre Sylva to visit the spill site and empathise with impacted residents and ensure adequate response.

Diri visited the spill site on Nov 30, five days after Sylva’s visit.

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