Oil spill: Delta communities threaten to shut Escravos-Warri line

A total of 35 communities affected by oil spill in Gbaramatu Kingdom in the Warri South West Council Area of Delta State, on Sunday issued the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation a seven-day ultimatum to commence clean-up exercise in the area.

In a letter addressed to NNPC Group Managing Director, the communities said it was observed and agreed during the joint investigation visit that the spill was as result of equipment failure.

The letter was signed by Johnbull Demebi, Edward Odudu and Chief Moses Bebenimibo for the communities.

The communities, which threatened to shut down the Escravos-to-Warri Crude line if their demands are not meant, also called on NNPC and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited – operators of the failed pipelines – to provide with relief materials and compensation.

The spill which they claimed started August 17 and lasted another two months affected Ikpokpo, Tejubor, Okpelema, Opuede, Opuede-Zion, Opuedebubor, Meka-Ama, Oto-Gbene, New Jerusalem Zion, Mala-Gbene, Atanba, Okerenkoko-Gbene, Oporoza federated communities, Gama-Zion and Azama communities.

Others are Inikorogha, Ibanfa, Igoba, Kunukunuama, Pepeama, Kurutie, Jaghala, Okerenkoko, Egwa, Bikumor, Sarabubowei, Benikrukru, Kokodiagbene, Kantu, Bebebopre Zion, Olukperebu, Oburu, Ogbotu-Gbene and Seitorsububor Communities of Gbaramatu Kingdom.

It argued that despite investigations revealing that the cause of the oil spill was as result of equipment failure, the NNPC and its subsidiary, PPMC, have refused to accept blame for the spill which other regulatory agencies included NOSDRA and the ministry of environment assented to after the JIV.

They said, “It is insulting and provocative for a spiller like the NNPC/NPSC to refuse to accept the cause of an oil spill that has been determined and accepted by the regulators: NOSDRA and the ministry of environment.

“NNPC/NPSC is only interested in pumping crude oil through the trunk line whereas the affected communities are in pain and sorrow with more communities affected by the spill because of the deliberate and wilful refusal of NNPC to clean up the impacted communities and curtain further spread.

“The communities in the light of the foregoing have given the NNPC/NPSC (PPMC) seven days ultimatum to clean up the impacted communities, provide relief materials and pay adequate and fair compensation to the communities and people.

“If NNPC/NPSC fails to comply with our demands within seven days, we would have no other option than to shut down the Escravos to Warri trunk line until our demands are met.”

  

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