Groups Fault Governor Diri’s Comments on Nembe Spill

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Different interest groups in the country have criticised the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri over his comments concerning the recent oil spill in the Nembe area of Bayelsa State.

The Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 wellhead in the Santa Barbara South field in Nembe, Bayelsa State, blew up on November 3. Since then, the operator of the facility, Aiteo, and the Nigerian government have made efforts to stop the leak and prevent further damage to the environment.

Governor Diri claimed on Wednesday that the leak spilled two million barrels of oil into the creeks, adding that it was worse than the Gulf of Mexico spill that killed 11 people and emitted 4 million barrels of oil.

However, the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) has frowned at the statement by the governor. ACJHR who express concern over the statement Diri said that the Bayelsa Governor’s comments over the Nembe oil spill were not in good taste.

In a statement by its Programs Director Nduka-Edede Chinomso, the centre wondered what the governor intend to achieve with the statement which it said was clearly aimed at undermining remedial efforts put in place by the Federal Government and Aiteo.

The statement said: “As stakeholders in the affairs of this country, we are concerned about Governor Diri’s outburst on the Nembe oil spill.

“We are still at a loss on the motive behind the statement which was clearly ill-conceived.

“We are therefore calling on the Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate the roles played by Governor Diri since the oil spill started.

“We believe that such investigation will reveal the governor’s motives in undermining remedial efforts when he is expected to be commending those involved.”

The Arewa Consultative Youth Movement and Association of Northern Youth Groups, have also faulted the governor’s claims. Speaking through their President and Convener, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, the groups noted that Diri’s claims were not the reality.

Yusuf said: “To show the extent of mischief, few have asked how many barrels the well was producing prior to the blowout. 

“Credible information confirms that before its shut-down prior to 2015, the well was producing 700 barrels daily.

“In the light of this disclosure, it is simply incomprehensible that there can be any truth to the volumes being misleadingly bandied about.”

The group condemned “attempt at politicisation of the spill”

It said Diri, who is not a petroleum engineer, demonstrated “a disturbing disposition to his contributions to the public discussions by misguidedly alleging impossible scenarios”.

He added: “From a person in authority of such elevation, this is  extreme misinformation stemming from willful ignorance or dark motive.”

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