Over 15 persons have been reported dead in Emago/Kugbo community in Abua/ Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State, following the recent oil spill that occurred in the area, at one of the facilities of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
This was disclosed yesterday, by Omini Walson-Asaco, spokesman of the community before the members of Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Environment, held at the Assembly Complex in Port Harcourt.
The House of Assembly Committee had summoned the management of the Italian oil giant, on the heels of a petition from the lawmaker representing Abua/Odual Constituency, the Deputy Speaker, Marshall Uwom, requesting the House to intervene in the matter.
At the meeting, which had in attendance representatives of the community and Agip company, the spokesman of Emago/Kugbo community, accused the company of insensitivity to the plights of the people.
Dr. Walson-Asaco said that the spill was caused by explosion, pointing out that Agip had not cleaned the area.
Responding to the allegation, the Government Relations Manager of Agip, Ijuwe Albert, told the Committee that the spill was an act of sabotage.
According to him, the act of “using explosives” on Agip’s facilities had returned to the area, noting that the company had recorded several cases of sabotage with explosives and other destructive devices on their pipelines.
He wondered how the company could carry out corporate social responsibility in an area where their operations were threatened.
In his response, the deputy speaker and lawmaker representing the community wondered why Agip should carry out investigation without involving the host community.
He said issues about Agip had been recurring in the Niger Delta.
Uwom condemned the treatments by Agip, saying that it did not show cordiality.
He urged the Assembly to protect the communities and Niger Delta region, charging the firm to look into its corporate social responsibility in host communities.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee, Israel Ngbuelo, had advised Agip to ensure that its corporate social responsibility in host communities was implemented.
The House emphasised that it had the obligations to ensure that Rivers people and the environment were always protected, advising multinational companies operating in Niger Delta, not to create crisis in the region through their policies.
In a related development, the House of Assembly has continued to mediate in the case of oil explosion that occurred in Ebocha, Egbema community at Agip facility.
Egbema community had petitioned the House of Assembly over the explosion, which caused devastation of the in the area. -The Sun