The residents of Umuchem in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area have raised the alarm over an oil spill from a pipeline belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company.

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It was leant that the spill occurred on Wednesday, even as some residents started scooping the product.

Some residents, who called on the regulatory bodies, including Shell, to deploy safety measures, claimed that the spill had caused damage to their environment.

One of them said, “When this thing happened, we called the Rivers State emergency lines several times. They told us to hold on. But nothing happened. Shell should bring fire service here if they care about us.”

“This particular place now, we are sleeping with one eye open because this is hazardous. Anything like fire can happen here. So, we need the government to come and assist us,” another resident stated.

Meanwhile, the media relations manager of Shell, Bamidele Odugbesan, said the company received a report of the spill in its pipeline between Agbada FS and Rukpokwu Manifold.

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“We immediately activated the emergency and spill response teams and the pipeline was shut down, isolated and depressurised the same day to stop the flow of crude oil. We also secured the site for safety,” he added.

The Rivers State Government, however, warned residents against scooping fuel from the leaking pipeline, urging them to be mindful of the consequences.

The state Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr Peter Medee, said, “We have seen instances where scooping of petroleum product has led to explosion and several persons have died.

“Our investigation shows that it is crude oil. So, if you are going to scoop it, what are you going to use it for? There are other processes it needs to go through before you can get the product to a stage where you can use it.

“Our appeal is that every person there should stay away from the area which has been cleverly demarcated.”