The oil bearing communities of Ikpokpo,Tebujor, Okpeleama, Opuede, Opude-Zion, Opuedebubor, Meka-Ama, Oto-Gbene, Atanba, and Okerenkoko-Gbene of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have raised alarm and petitioned the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the NNPC Governing Board, Ibe Kachikwu, over an imminent humanitarian and environmental disaster arising from the August 17, 2016 oil spill from the NNPC/PPMC Escravos to Warri trunk line which adversely affected the communities.
In a petition by their solicitor, Eldridge Emekawovie, dated September 20, 2016, the aggrieved communities stated that since the spill occurred on August 17, 2016, crude oil has been gushing out from the ruptured point, especially when crude oil is pumped through the trunk line. They stated that the crude has spilled into all their communities with their people suffocating from the gas content contained in the crude oil and that if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation, their communities may be engulfed by a massive fire outbreak, which could lead to the death of innocent people in their communities.
They accused the NNPC/PPMC owners of the trunk line of deliberately refusing to cooperate with the National Oil Spill Response and Detection Agency (NOSDRA) to carry out a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to ascertain the point of rupture and take steps to stop further spillage and damage to their communities. The communities call on Dr. Kachikwu to prevail on the NNPC/PPMC management to take urgent steps to save their communities and people. It would be recalled that the Spokesman of NNPC, Garba Deen Mohammed, said on September 8, 2016 that the incident was as a result of a mechanical fault.
In a related development, the Gbaramatu Communities, in a separate letter by their solicitor to the Director General of the NOSDRA, has demanded that the PPMC/NNPC be sanctioned for violating the provisions of the NOSDRA Act in failing to report the spillage to the agency as required by section 6 of the NOSDRA Act and in using surveillance workers of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited to carry out an illegal clean-up without the approval of the agency, contrary to section 19 of the NOSDRA Act.
The communities demanded that the NNPC/PPMC should be fined the N500,000 and N1m, respectively, contained in the NOSDRA Act for every day of their violation from August 17, 2016 till they comply with the law to serve as a deterrent to other corporate monsters in the oil and gas industry like NNPC/PPMC.
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