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Highlights: 14 lives lost in the incident; in a hostile environment. Location: Azuzuama community environment, along Agip pipeline; site of recent explosion/fire Date of Visit: 16th July, 2015
On Thursday 9th July 2015 the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) learnt of the deaths of 14 persons along Agip’s Tebidabe-Clough Creek pipeline at a damaged section of the pipeline during a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV). The incident is not entirely new in the operations of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC]. The people of Etieama community in Nembe Local Government Area (LGA) of Bayelsa State are yet to forget the deaths of 18 vibrant youths who were invited to assist during clamping of a ruptured section of NAOC’s Brass-Ogoda pipeline in year 2000. According to community folks at Etiema, that ugly incident was caused by spark from a machine used during the clamping.
On Sunday, 29th July, 2012 a similar incident happened along Agip pipeline within Ayamabele/Kalaba community environment, in Okordia clan, Yenagoa LGA. As captured in an ERA/FoEN field report at the time, while trying to clamp a spill point, there was a sudden fire outbreak and 16 persons who made up the Agip team [including military men] and 4 community youths escaped death. However, a machine brought for the repair job and the bush bore the testimony as they were seriously damaged. Community folks at Ayamabele/Kalaba informed ERA/FoEN that they were lucky to have escaped unharmed though some of them missed their way home as there where no footpaths in the bush away from the site of the fire.
The incident at Azuzuama in Bassan Clan, Southern Ijaw LGA is yet another sad episode from NAOC operations as the testimonies from bereaved families and officials of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment below indicates.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH AFRICA GROUPS PUSHBACK ON EXTRACTIVE ACTIVITIES, LAND GRABS IN AFRICA
Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEA) groups have decried the impact of extractive companies’ operations across the African region, cautioning that if communities are not adequately empowered to advocate for and defend their rights, more of them will be displaced leading to conflicts.
The groups made the call during a solidarity mission to oil host communities in Bunyoro sub-region (Albertine Region, Uganda) currently grappling with the challenges associated with the developing oil industry in the country. Participants in the solidarity visit were Friends of the Earth International, FoEA member groups from Uganda, Nigeria, Togo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Tunisia and South Africa. Community representatives in Uganda affected by unsustainable development projects were also part of the team. The FoEA team was particularly concerned that residents of Kabale parish who have been asked by government to vacate the place to pave way for the oil refinery have received inadequate or no compensation at all for their lost properties.
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The theme of the World Environment Day 2013 is “Think. Eat. Save”. Each word is loaded and stands alone, separated by unambiguous periods. That should get us thinking indeed. Many people in the world do not really think before eating. They are more preoccupied by the nagging question of where the next meal would come from. There are also a number of persons whose questions pertain to what to eat out of the myriad of choices on their sumptuous dining tables. And, of course, there are people to whom saving food is not a problem while to yet others there is simply no choice in doing that. There are others who wish to save but cannot do so either due to a lack of means to do so, or for the reason of current insufficiencies.
There is a lot of food for thought in just considering the theme.