Kabiru Yusuf, President of the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement and Convener of the Association of Northern Youth Groups, has slammed the politicization of the recent oil leak in Bayelsa State’s Nembe.
He insisted that, while the situation was regrettable, it should not be viewed through the lens of politics, and that specialists were actively working to save the situation.
Those who lack a basic comprehension of the issues should not create ill-informed distractions or divisions where none exist, he said.
A wellhead gas/crude blowout occurred recently on the OML 29 Well 1 platform, which is run by Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil company, Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCO), a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
While praising Aiteo’s assistance, Yusuf stated that technical containment measures and prompt intervention by highly qualified foreign-based technical professionals with experience in dealing with such catastrophes were important in bringing the crisis to a halt.
“The firm has since mobilised to ground zero and has fully deployed measures to contain the leak including an effective fast-track spill recovery programme. In addition to this has been high level, community targeted community-targeted measures that has been providing provide relief and health related support to those immediately affected.
“But for some wholly incomprehensible reasons, several forces have equally deployed their armaments to smear and damage not only the image of Aiteo, but its quite considerable efforts. From peddling specious information that the spill has led to losses in excess off two million barrels, some have alleged that over 500,000 barrels were spilled, while some have suggested figure stupendous loss of some 200,000 daily.
“Despite efforts by Aiteo to professionally contain the spill in Nembe, some see this incident as an opportunity to attack the company. Some interests are even, curiously, putting out old spill videos to create a negative false impression of the extent incident.
“It certainly cannot be overstressed that what is playing out appears like well-choreographed intrigue at work to undermine Aiteo and besmirch ongoing efforts to contain the leak and mitigate the impact on communities around the location of the well.
“Even Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State who is not a petroleum engineer has demonstrated a disturbing disposition to his contributions to the public discussions by misguidedly alleging impossible scenarios.
“Douye Diri is a 1990 Bachelor of Education and Political Science graduate from the University of Port Harcourt with no previous knowledge, experience, or involvement in either oil production or the environment. Yet he has manfully opined that the Nembe spill is worse than the Gulf of Mexico spill. From a person in authority of such elevation, this is extreme misinformation stemming from willful ignorance or dark motive.”