|Ibeno community, Ibeno LGA, Akwa-Ibom state||April 24, 2015.|
This report is based on the field trip to the above stated communities from 24th-25th April, 2015 by one staff Umo Isua-Ikoh. Following an alert from the community on fresh oil spill in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State to Peace Point Action (PPA), the National Coalition on Oil Spills and Gas Flaring in the Niger Delta (NACGOND) on Friday, 24th April, 2015 supported PPA to embark on immediate site visit to the spilled sites. The purpose was to verify the incidence of the oil spill into the community water bodies and to report and make recommendations to NACGOND and other related bodies.
The spill which was first noticed on Sunday, 19th April 2015 as alleged by the community paralyses fishing activities being the major occupation of the people. Communities mostly affected include: Itak Idim Ukpa, Itak Idim Ekpe, Itak Ifa, Atia and New Barrel.
At Itak Idim Ukpa, residence of the area pleaded Exxon Mobil to save the community from odor of decomposed body of sea whale that died due to the oil spill. The said body of the monster was deposited at the shore of the Atlantic Ocean precisely at Itak Idim Ukpa since Sunday 19th April, 2015 through the tidal waves.
Unhappy about this development, Mr. Samuel Effiong Ekpo, Itak Idim Ukpa community youth said ‘Exxon Mobil always played politics about our environmental plight, each time spills occurs, they will hurried come and promise cleaning up the mess but in vain’.
A fisher Man, Intelligent Etim UdoEsu, said, ‘Fisher men always suffered when there is oil spill, no fishing, no money to feed the family, our buyers do not see any fish to buy. It all about the entire community problem’.
For Edidiog Effiong who said he took up fishing to enable him further his education at Heritage Polytechnic, Eket, ‘Life is becoming unbearable as fishing is no longer profitable of recent due to frequent oil spills by Mobil, you can see the body of the big fish killed as a result of the spill, it really affects my future plans’.
The newly elected youth leader Inua Eyet Ikot, Mr. Gabriel Gregory who took over from Mr. John Bassey said, the spill compelled Ibeno youths to halt Exxon Mobil operations in the area since Monday, 20th April, 2015. Mr. Gabriel requested the oil company to embark on immediate environmental cleanup of the spill for the sake of environmental safety.
As at the time of our visit, the location of the oil spill was yet to be known but was affirmed by the community that Joint Instigation Venture (JIV) is yet to be conducted.
- Increase tidal waves significantly make the journey to be risky.
- Fears of possible attack by sea pirates
- Unwillingness of some community members to give out information
- Lack of continues cooperation by the immediate past youth leader.
Recommendation/immediate action taken
- Urgent need for NACGOND to engage Exxon Mobil on advocacy visit to minimize frequent oil spill occurrence within the community.
- Urgent need for NACGOND to facilitate the removal of the skeleton of the decomposed sea whale to museum for historical purposes and as advocacy tool.
- NACGOND member organizations on field visit should be equip with safety apparatus.