By Godspower Edoza
The Ikorigho Seaside Community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State has sued Chevron Nigeria Limited at the Federal High Court, sitting in Akure, the state capital for allegedly denying its inhabitants their lawful rights since the company began operation in the community 50 years ago.
According to a statement on oath by Ikorigho community in suit no: FHC/AK/CS/85/2013 before Justice O. Onanuga, it noted that due to the enabling law granted Chevron to carry out crude oil explorations, several shots of dynamites were released which led to the discovering of several oils wells.
This, together with large quantities of hydrocarbon according to the statement led to ‘severe’ environmental pollution of aquatic lives within the low water mark of Ikorigho seaside community.
The plaintiff consequently sought the sum of over N165 billion from the defendant, (Chevron) as adequate compensation for the rights suffered by the community due to the crude oil exploration and gas flailing.
Chevron, a Private Company incorporated in accordance with the laws of Nigeria has its head office in Lagos and specialised in crude oil explorations and activities, had since 1964 operating in Ikorigho community.
While tendering the statement before the court,counsel to Ikorigho Seaside Community, Rotimi Jacob,said the activities of Chevron Limited had greatly affected the fishing and other rights of the plaintiffs particularly within the low water.
The plaintiff said the oil wells together with the flair stations were concentrated within the community, which now form part of the low water mark of a natural fishing ground for fishermen.
He lamented that fishing in the area could not be effectively carried out again as a result of the disturbances poised by the various wells, blockade and other dangers due to Chevron operation.
The plaintiffs said the effect of the pollution caused by digging and laying of oil pipelines to link various oil wells together with the gas flaring would last for over 40 years before fishing activities could resume fully.
The statement reads “Plaintiffs contend that as a result of the said exploration and exploitation activities of crude oil by the defendant, Ikorigho community which from time out of human memory has always been at the seaside has been relocated into the inter land for about four times now in order to be at a distance from the said flow station due to oil mining activities.
“Consequently, the Plaintiffs in order to sustain their lives have quickly resorted to the buying of sachet can water from various trader who now make sufficient gains on the people of Ikorigho as a result of the supply of water from distance places between 50 and 80 kilometers from Ikorigho.
“The overall effect of the defendant activities is the death of numerous members of Ikorigho Seaside Communities as their only means of livelihood have been affected and many of inhabitants have become sick as a result of malnutrition.”
It maintained that the defendant had woefully failed to implement the mandatory provisions of the Nigerian Mineral and Mining (NMM) Act in favour of Plaintiffs Ikorigho Community.
Counsel to Chevron Limited, Sam Agbamuje however prayed the court for the adjournment of the case for him to gather all his witnesses in the case.
Justice Onanuga consequently adjourned the case to January 24 and 25 ,2018 for conclusion of defence.
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