Shell Host Communities Report Earth Tremour, Seek Investigation

Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson
Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson

Some Communities in Bayelsa and Rivers States within oilfields operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, on Friday, reported witnessing vibrations described as Earth tremor and urged the government to probe the cause.

Residents in Igbogene and Akenfa in Bayelsa as well as Akinima, Akie-Oniso(Oruama), One Man Country and Mbiama in Rivers, say they are yet to come to terms with the incident and are still in fear.

According to them, they noticed heavy vibrations that lasted for some several minutes during the incident which occurred on Sunday night.

Chief Etekpe , a house owner and retired School Principal in Igbogene , Bayelsa on Friday said it was a frightening experience.

“We were about to go to bed when I heard a heavy vibration. I thought it was something else so I quickly went into prayers’, the 60 year old stated.

Victor Idieto who also resides in the area described it this way: “In fact, there was a kind of quake, very serious quake that lasted for over minutes.

“At first I thought it was armed robbers that were removing my roof, so I started shouting, only to realise that others had similar experience”.

At Akie-Oniso in Oruama in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers, a resident, Paul Kio said the tremor caused a crack in his building.

“This vibration was something unpredictable, look at the cracks on my wall’, Kio explained.

Also Paul Harrison, who also resides in the area, said it was the fourth time the incident had taken place, vowing to take his family away from the community if another occurs.

At Akinima, headquarters of the Local Government Area, a house wife, Animason Emeka-Mark pointed out that it was a traumatic experience she had on Sunday night.

“Everywhere was shaking.  It was something else. I thought the world has come to an end’, the house wife recalled.

Officials of the environment-based Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, Friends of the Earth in Bayelsa, who were also on an assessment tour of the affected areas said the incident had occurred previously.

Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at the NGO said the last occurrence took place two years ago in Freetown, Ikarama 1 & 2 in Okordia clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa.

    Although what triggered the tremor has yet to be established, some indigenes and environmentalist have linked it to intense seismic and oil exploration activities undertaken by SPDC in the area over the years.

    Residents have called on government and relevant agencies to look into the incident with a view to ascertaining the real cause and prevent future occurrences to avert any disaster.

    Joseph Obari, an SPDC spokesman, who was contacted said that he was on vacation and hence cannot respond.

    Also Precious Okolobo, Media Relations Manager at SPDC declined comments on the development.

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