‘CHEVRON, SAVE OUR LIVES!’ – DELTA COMMUNITY CRIES OUT IN PROTEST
The people of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State cried out on Friday that Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, should extinguish the inferno in Ikpalakpalabuo oil well and carry out an assessment of the toxic effects on residents and the immediate environment in view of monetary compensation for the disaster.
The call came in a peaceful protest after the recent fire outbreak, for four days now, persisted in degrading the land and life of the people.
The National President of the community, Ebilate Mac-Yoroki, in a presentation co-signed by Midwest Kukuru, President of Polobubuo, lamented that thick cloud of smoke has rented the entire atmosphere of the community, causing so much pain, loss and leaving so many damages behind.
“Chevron should immediately send qualified medical doctors to start attending to all the sick and weak in the community.
“We don’t need to die before they will believe that their activities are seriously affecting us adversely. We need clean potable water urgently because even the ones we currently drink have been polluted from their sources.
“We urgently need all sorts of food stuffs because we no longer have access to our main source of livelihood; fishing, which is also our main source of food. Hunger is worsening in the community.”
Mac-Yoroki urged Chevron to immediately carry out a clean-up exercise on the waters within and surrounding the community.
“This is because they provide life for seafood, it is still the only means of recreation for our children, but as it is currently polluted by crude oil and gas, we can’t fish, just as our children cannot swim in it. It is almost a ‘concentration camp’ experience for us currently.
“We are a community of peaceful and hardworking people, but besides the fact that Chevron has refused to give our people jobs, the natural environment that ought to have been their source of livelihood has been taken away from them by the activities of the company. In the light of this, we demand that Chevron pays compensation to every member of Polobubou.”
Mac-Yoroki also explained that the fire had enormously polluted their lands and resulted in hunger for the residents, thereby calling on Chevron Nigeria Limited to provide them with portable water, food, medical assistance among other things.
He said: “Our water and food sources” have been polluted by the fire, and lamented the “unfair treatment” the people had suffered despite its peaceful disposition towards Chevron Nigeria Limited.
“All entreaties to Chevron to save ourselves from the toxic effects of this fire have yielded no result. A much more grievous injustice by this company that has feigned friendship, against our ever-welcoming and peaceful people is the ongoing attempt to cede our land to Ondo state and thereby fan another needless ethnic crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, said the state government will send a delegation, not later than next Tuesday, that may include CNL officials to assess the damage and proffer possible solutions to the issues raised.
While appreciating the community and its leadership for maintaining peace, the Deputy Governor disclosed that the State Government is aware of the fire incident, and added that it also knows that the oil company is “making some frantic efforts towards getting that fire off”.
“I want to assure you that the Delta state government, led by Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, is a responsive government; a government that responds to the yearnings of its people and just like you have said, there is an issue and I want to say that between now and Tuesday next week, we will send a high power Delta state government team, possibly in collaboration with Chevron Nigeria Limited, to see, first hand, what the issues are, with a view to addressing some of them,” he said.