THIRTY-THREE PERSONS ARE FEARED KILLED IN 50 COMMUNITIES IN DELTA STATE FOLLOWING OIL SPILLAGE IN THEIR AREAS.
The spillage, said to have occurred sometime in April this year, attracted attention and visits by well meaning Deltans, particularly lawmakers representing various constituencies in the areas.
Investigation revealed that the devastating oil spillage apart from the havoc it wreaked on the people’s sources of drinking water, their farm lands, and deaths of their fish(es),worried residents in the affected areas, have fled their homes for fear of more trouble.
The oil spillage, further investigation revealed, occurred
On the 24 inches Trans Ramos Crude Oil Pipelines owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company in Burutu local government area of delta, and destroyed over 25,000 hectares of farm lands including crops.
Worse hit is Odomodi community among others in Burutu local government area hitherto battling devastating erosion menace.
But mr. Julius Pondi, member representing Burutu, constituency at the house of assembly , who spoke to our reporter in Asaba, said “we at the state house of assembly are very sad, we sympathise with the people, especially the families of those affected, though shell had put measures in place to contain the spread to other parts of the state, and also recover crude oil from the damaged pipelines, the spillage had polluted the entire area, destroyed aquatic life which had made fishing the major occupation of the people, impossible’
He decried the situation that the report of the Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) team consisting of shell, Directorate Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the National Oil Spill Detection And Response Agency (NOSDRA) on the spillage was yet to be made public and emphasized the need for the JIV report to be released,
The lawmaker however stressed that the spillage was not as a result of sabotage, but due to equipment failure on the part of shell, hence the company was trying to avoid its responsible to the community
While expressing worries that the multinational oil companies have always devised means of short changing communities whenever a spillage occurred, the lawmaker said shell was yet to meet with the communities to discuss with them and assuage their plight
” I call on shell to immediately provide relief materials and medical to all the affected communities, it is rather unfortunate that there is a problem at present ” the lawmaker added
Mr. Dere Potoki, youth president of Odimodi community, one of the communities, who spoke to our reporter, said” the spillage occurred in four different points on the crude oil pipelines since on april 24, 2018, the action of shell up until now had not been impressive to us, imagine over 33 persons are presumed dead, they can’t talk, in fact, they like no more, shell is more concerned about how to recover crude oil from the damaged pipelines without thinking of providing relief materials to those affected, we will not take this ”
In a reaction, some officials of shell in Warri who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, said “Management is making efforts to assist, and provide materials for the affected communities and relations of the seriously affected people, it’s painful and not true we have neglected them, we are taking our time to assist them”