Host communities in Ugborodo, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have sent an SOS message to President Muhammadu Buhari over threats to lives, assets and the ecology of over 50 communities in the area resulting from oil spill from facilities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the area.
The letter titled ‘URGENT NEED TO AVERT IMPENDING LARGE SCALE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN DELTA, DUE TO SPDC’S INDIFFERENCE’ signed by Erefoluwa Keka, an indigene of Ugborodo on behalf of host communities to SPDC’s multibillion dollar facilities and pipelines in the area, warned that the lives of the people of the area are in clear and grave danger, unless the Federal Government acts.
It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Delta State Government, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to visit the area for firsthand information on the devastation.
According to Keka, several petitions written to the management of SPDC by Chief Ayiri Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom to address the pollution of the community by illegal bunkerers and crude oil thieves was not acted upon.
“As you read this, the lives, assets and future generation of over 50 communities, hosting the network of SPDC Pipelines, particularly indigenes of Ugborodo, are in grave danger. If urgent steps are not taken to stop the brazen infractions of SPDC Pipelines in the aforesaid communities, a major humanitarian crisis capable of outweighing the Ogoni Oil Spill, would burst in Delta State.
“Unlike the situation in Ogoni, Rivers State, wherein SPDC was accused of causing the monumental spill, the situation in Ugborodo Communities, is largely due to the indifference of SPDC.
“This is despite series of public outcry and petitions written to the management of the Oil and Gas Major, especially by the Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayirimi Emami, to address the pollution of our community by illegal bunkerers and crude oil thieves,” it added.
Keka accused Shell of failing to put an end to unprecedented infractions on its pipelines, describing the act as disheartening, insensitive and outright wickedness.
“I consider SPDC’s failure to put an end to the unprecedented infractions on its pipelines as disheartening, insensitive and outright wickedness. It is not enough to mobilize contractors to remediate the lines after each and every spillage. The long-term impact of such pollution on our environment, has very far reaching effects”.
“As coastal communities, our people are predominantly farmers and fishermen.
Every episode of oil spill from SPDC’s Pipelines and infrastructure into our land and waters, further worsens the already pathetic situation of environmental degradation and pollution that has pervaded our land for decades, thus compounding the sufferings of our people, deprivation of our livelihood and the destruction of aquatic lives”.
“It is not enough to mobilize contractors to remediate the lines after each and every spillage. The long-term impacts of such pollution on our environment have very far reaching effects.”
He said the people of the coastal communities affected are predominantly farmers and fishermen, whose economies are affected by incidents of spill from SPDC’s Pipelines and infrastructure into land and waters.
“I envisage a potential upsurge in pipeline infractions. The criminal elements prowl in search of vulnerable spots; hence the management of SPDC should be directed to take the necessary proactive, responsible and timely approach to safeguarding its network of pipeline and the in-field infrastructure.”
“Sir, the upsurge of illegal bunkering activities in Ugborodo as witnessed by indigenes of the community and visitors, during the recent yuletide, was heart-rending and left one wondering, if the lives of Ugborodo indigenes matter to the relevant government agencies and management of SPDC”.
He urged the oil company to adopt similar approach by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), which involves local communities in 60km 24” NNPC Éscravos – Warri Pipeline Segment; the 50km Opuama – Otumara Crude Oil Export Pipeline in OML 40 and the 87km 28″ Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) in OML30.
He said NPDC mode has led to total eradication or significant reduction in oil spill and community agitations in those areas.
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