OIL MASSIVELY DEVASTATED TSEKELEWU COMMUNITIES SEND SOS TO FG, OKOWA , Sylva, NASS
*One Dead, Babies, Several Others Sick, Livelihood, Environment Seriously Impacted
* Environmentalist Call For Immediate Stoppage of Spill, Care of Impacted Community People
By Constance Meju
Pa Anthony Ebiogbo
As bewildered members of Polobubo Communities Bloc struggle with the after-effect of a massive oil spill which hit NPDC/ELCREST E&PJV facility in OML 40 rudely distorting lives in the host communities, the president of the Polobubo Bloc of POLOBUBO Communities, Mr. Paul Toruwei has sent a save our soul (SOS) message to the minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Slyva, governor of Delta State, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa and the GMD of NNPC, Mr. Kyari to come to the aid of the Polobubo/Opuama Communities to contain the devastating effects of the major oil and gas spillage which occurred in the communities in the early hours of Sunday, March 14, 2021.
Narrating the incident, Mr. Toruwei stated in a press statement issued on Monday March 15, 2021 in Polobubo that at the early hours of Sunday March 14, 2021, the major pipeline transporting crude oil from Opuama flow station in Oil Mining Lease (OML40) ruptured which resulted in the spillage of oil in all water bodies and swamp forests of the communities in the operational area which include Opuama, Polobubo and their bloc/satellite communities.
Mr. Toruwei who, is the president of the Polobubo Bloc of Communities further said the incident has landed residents of the affected communities into sorrow and anguish as numerous persons are already hospitalized while Pa Anthony Ebiogbo of Opuama Community lost his life due to gas inhalation arising from the oil spillage in the early hours of Monday March 15, 2021.
He said: “as I speak, economic activities have been grounded; as a matter of fact, throughout Sunday, March 14, 2021 residents couldn’t cook their food due to fear of fire outbreak as a result of gas exudates from the said pipeline that enveloped the whole vicinity”.
To forestall further damage to residents of the affected communities, Mr.Paul Toruwei as a matter of urgency called on the minister of Petroleum, Chief Timipre Slyva and the governor of Delta State, Dr. Okowa to prevail on the management of NPDC/ELCREST to swing into action and take remedial actions by containing further spread of the spillage and provide medical care, food, water and other necessities in order to save the lives of residents who have been denied their source of livelihood.
The Communities also call on the NOSDRA, DPR and Ministry of Environment to activate the process of Joint Investigation Visit, JIV to ascertain the cause of the spil, send relief materials immediately and make arrangements to compensate the affected communities.
Reacting to the spill, environmental laureate Nnimmo Bassey called for immediate stoppage of the spill and measures to care for the affected people and the environment.
He lamented the long suffering of oil host communities with worry that the spill I not being treated as an emergency.
Nnimmo described the spill as outrageous and alarming.
Friends of the communities are also calling on the National Assembly to step in and ensure the Polobubo communities do not suffer untold hardship. They want the minister for Humanitarian and Disaster Affairs to quickly rise to the occasion and the chairman House of Representative Committee on Host Communities, Hon Dum Deekor Dunamene to speak to ensure justice is speedily done.
Current Spill in Opuama is Absolutely Outrageous, Alarming -Nnimmo Bassey , environmental laureate and executive director Health for Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF
The suffering people of the Niger Delta are sadly used to having oil spills regularly. However, the current spills at Opuama area is absolutely outrageous. It is a calamity. It is extremely alarming.
“And the worse aspect is that the situation isn’t treated as an emergency. The children and others affected by this horrendous spill should be attended to even before the JIVs and other investigations are carried out.
“We do know that JIVs are usually about ascertaining the cause and volume of the spill. While that is important, the life of the people and halting the massive ecological harm is even more urgent.
“The spill must be stopped. The spread should be halted. The environment must be remediated and restored. The offending operators should be brought to book and should adequately compensate the impacted persons and individuals”.