Host communities in itsekiri write FG over oil spill

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By Mordi chukwunonso Esther 

Host communities in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have sent an SOS message to the Federal Government over threats to lives, assets and the ecology of over 50 communities in the area resulting from oil spill from facilities of Shell Petroleum Development Company in the area, nation online reports.

The letter signed by Erefoluwa Keka, an indigene of Ugborodo on behalf of host communities to SPDC’s multibillion dollar facilities and pipelines in the area, warned that the lives of the people of the area are in clear and grave danger, unless the Federal Government acts.

It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Delta State Government, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to visit the area for firsthand information on the devastation.

“As you read this, the lives, assets and future generation of over 50 communities, hosting the network of SPDC Pipelines, particularly indigenes of Ugborodo, are in grave danger. If urgent steps are not taken to stop the brazen infractions of SPDC Pipelines in the aforesaid communities, a major humanitarian crisis capable of outweighing the Ogoni Oil Spill, would burst in Delta State.

“Unlike the situation in Ogoni, Rivers State, wherein SPDC was accused of causing the monumental spill, the situation in Ugborodo Communities, is largely due to the indifference of SPDC.

“This is despite series of public outcry and petitions written to the management of the Oil and Gas Major, especially by the Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayirimi Emami, to address the pollution of our community by illegal bunkerers and crude oil thieves,” it added.

Keka accused Shell of failing to put an end to unprecedented infractions on its pipelines, describing the act as disheartening, insensitive and outright wickedness.

“It is not enough to mobilize contractors to remediate the lines after each and every spillage. The long-term impacts of such pollution on our environment have very far reaching effects.”

He said the people of the coastal communities affected are predominantly farmers and fishermen, whose economies are affected by incidents of spill from SPDC’s Pipelines and infrastructure into land and waters.

“I envisage a potential upsurge in pipeline infractions. The criminal elements prowl in search of vulnerable spots; hence the management of SPDC should be directed to take the necessary proactive, responsible and timely approach to safeguarding its network of pipeline and the in-field infrastructure.”

He urged the oil company to adopt similar approach by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), which involves local communities in 60km 24” NNPC Éscravos – Warri Pipeline Segment; the 50km Opuama – Otumara Crude Oil Export Pipeline in OML 40 and the 87km 28″ Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) in OML30.

He said NPDC mode has led to total eradication or significant reduction in oil spill and community agitations in those areas.

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