By Alagie Manneh
Nawec has reacted to last week’s destructive oil sludge spill at Kembujeh, saying it is sorry and assured that such incident will not re-occur.
A viral video online showed the devastating aftermath of the spill, with some farmlands, ruminants and livelihoods destroyed.
Nawec, which operates a powerplant in the area, blamed last week’s heavy downpour for the spill, and apologised for the decimation it brought.
“Anybody who may have suffered within this period, on behalf of the MD, we are so sorry,” Buba Badjie, the communications and public relations supervisor said. “We will make sure it never happens again.”
He said it is obvious that last week’s heavy downpour across the country “did not spare Nawec as well”.
In an interview with The Standard yesterday, Mr Badjie expounded on the issue: “In the early hours of Sunday 31 July, our attention was called to an overflow of a sludge from our power-station very close to Kembujeh that was carried by the water to the nearby communities. We found out that the oil flowed to some farmlands and affected them and also some lost their animals and household materials to the flow of the oil.”
The managing director of Nawec, Nani Juwara, has since instructed for the removal of the oil sludge from the affected areas, Mr Badjie said.
Responding to criticisms that negligence on the part of Nawec may have played a part, Mr Badjie said: “People have right to their opinion, but it was not negligence. We have been running this power station for a couple of decades now and this has never happened. The amount of rain we have seen this year has never happened. Yes, it’s a wake-up call and Nawec as an institution will man up and take the responsibility. We are not shifting blame to anybody. It’s unfortunate that this has happened.”
He said the institution has since reached out to those affected. “We have visited over 50 compounds together with other stakeholders like NEA, NDMA, Pura, the governor’s office and the lawmaker Alagie S Darboe.”
He said that an impact assessment of the damage has also been done. “What we have done now in the area is a lot of sand banking. We are also putting a concrete wall that will prevent it [the spill] from happening even if we are to have another downpour. We are not foreseeing the problem to happen again.”
Mr Badjie assured that those affected will eventually be compensated.