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BARUWA: Where Residents Drink Crude Oil In Water (2)

January 6, 2013

BARUWA: Where Residents Drink Crude Oil In Water (2)

Sunday, 06 January 2013 00:00 By Tunde Akingbade Sunday Magazine Newsfeature
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Spills threatening drinking water sources in N/Delta


Duke Energy Professor at the University of North Carolina, Hillary Inyang said that there are more than 1,500 communities in the Niger Delta hosting oil and gas facilities, with more than 5,500 oil wells, 260 flow stations and 7,000km of pipelines.

The professor who was Director, Global Institute for Energy and Environment Systems (GIEES) at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA, agonised that the vulnerable areas that surround the oil and gas facilities in Nigeria  have pipelines and tanks that have been in operation for more than 30 years.

He said these poorly maintained facilities frequently succumb to corrosion and other forms of geo-environmental stresses.

According to him, about 50-year oil exploration in the Niger Delta has generated 3,920 spills of which about 3,150 sites are at flow stations, drilling sites and pits for mud and flares, adding that an estimated 13 million barrels of oil has been spilled in the Niger Delta during five decades by operators in the oil industry.

“Just in the 2006 – 2009 periods alone, there were 2,122 oil spill incidents that oil companies recorded in Nigeria. Corrosion of vessels and pipelines, equipment failure and operational maintenance errors accounted for 653 spills while sabotage largely accounted for the rest.

“In January, 1980, an off-shore well near Koluama, Bayelsa State spilled more than 4,700 barrels of oil into the mangrove,” said Inyang.

He recalled that on January 11, 1998, more than 40,000 barrels of crude oil poured into coastal waters due to a ruptured offshore pipeline; noting that about 222 Bayelsa communities comprising about 500,000 people, were affected by the pollution of drinking water, fishing grounds and farms.

Inyang said that on March 27, 1998, a pipeline failure at the Jones Creek Flow station in Delta State spilled 20,000 barrels of oil into local water resources, killing a large number of fish. He added that on August 2, 2010, a spill from oil facilities in the Bonny River stretched from Okirika, Opobo Channel to Finima in River State, close to the Atlantic Ocean, destroying sensitive fauna and flora.

There were many other spills. Between March to May 2010, oil spill at the Qua Iboe oil field in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, released more than 5,520 barrels of oil onto the creeks. The spill polluted fishing waters, groundwater, surface water and sediments at high concentrations.

Mr. Celestine AkpoBari, National Coordinator, Ogoni Solidarity Forum explained that several wells in Ogoniland  have been contaminated over the years and many communities have no potable water.

According to AkpoBari, the Ogoni people have also been deprived their means of livelihood because the rivers and water they depend upon for fishing had been polluted. The activist added that many poor people have no choice but to drink from all polluted sources. He noted that the situation of the people of Ogoni, where oil was produced for several decades was worse off than areas where corroded and leaking oil pipelines and tanks have led to contamination of ground water.

It will be recalled Niger Delta Environmental Survey of 1998, found total hydrocarbon concentration, ranging from 600 to 18,000 micrograms per gram of surface and subsurface soils in Owaza, 30-13,000 micrograms per gram in Izombe, up to 26,000 micrograms per gram in K-Dere, and 3-200 micrograms per gram at Ibeno-Mkpanak.


How The Baruwa Study

Was Conducted…


The scientists who conducted the study on water collected by this reporter said that the samples were immediately preserved below 4 degrees centigrade prior to analysis.

Glassware’s used for the analysis of sample were scrupulously cleaned by soaking in chromic acid over-night, washed with detergent, then copiously rinsed with running tap water followed, by distilled water, and then acetone. The glass wares were transferred into the oven for 2 hours at 105 degrees Centigrade to dry. 100ml of sample was taken into Pyrex glass separating funnel and 50 ml of Dichloromethane (DCM) solvent was poured into it.

The experts carried out several activities using equipment such as Rotary Evaporator, Gas Chromatograph (GC), and Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) Model 5890. After more rigorous

processes, the results came out to confirm concentrations of

individual hydrocarbons and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon concentration of the water samples.


The Result:   Sample A- Well Water: during the chemical analysis, the experts found “similar peaks as displayed on peaks for premium motor spirits (PMS) carried out under similar conditions. The pH value was 6.79. The petroleum hydrocarbon peaks from premium motor spirits (PMS) were more distinct compared to the shown in the chromatographs.

The concentration of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) in the well water was 312.9 u g/I.

Sample B- Borehole Water; The experts noted that when this reporter brought the water for analysis it was colourless and clear with a pH value of 8.75. It had no characteristic odour. When it was analyzed, the experts found peaks similar to peaks displayed by the PMS sample analyzed under the same conditions indicating traces of the premium motor spirits PMS contamination. The scientists took sample of diesel and kerosene bought from official NNPC outlets to confirm through chromatograms the exact hydrocarbon contamination and PMS. This was why the contamination was linked with NNPC and PPMC through minor spills from ruptured pipelines in the area.


Genesis of the Community:

It began in 1854. That was the year Baruwa was founded by Ibrahim Adeniji, who was later to become Baruwa, meaning “Leader of the Community.” Baruwa is near Agege in Alimosho Local Government area of Lagos. It has been a fertile ground for politicians to canvass for votes during elections. The man Baruwa was one of those who returned from Brazil to settle in Lagos after the abolition of slave trade. He used to be a merchant who traded in padlocks and he shuttled between Lagos and Ipaja in Agege area of Lagos.

Baruwa came to Lagos from Brasilia with a man called Da Rocha who was reputed to be the richest man in Lagos in those days. Baruwa was also a friend of Herbert Macaulay, one of the

founding fathers of Nigeria, who fought relentlessly for the country’s independence.

Herbert Macaulay, a professional surveyor did the survey and

conveyance of Baruwa village for his friend in 1909.

The current Head of the village Alhaji Baruwa is the last of the 18 children of the founder of Baruwa village. The village had been in existence before NNPC’s pipelines crossed its landscape in 1970s and changed the contents of its water bodies.

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Author of this article: By Tunde Akingbade

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