Members of the Polobubo community also known as Tsekelewu in the Warri-North Local Government Area of Delta state have raised the alarm over crude oil spill polluting homes, farmlands, and rivers.
According to them, the pollution is a health hazard to inhabitants.
The pollution is believed to have occurred from the operations of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), which operates OML 40 on behalf of the NPDC/Elcrest joint venture.
A statement by the youth president of Polobubo, Paul Toruwei, alleged that the affected people were in the throes of death occasioned by the massive spill and air pollution.
“On Monday, March 15, 2021, in the early hours of Sunday, 14th March, 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 forest of the communities in the operational areas which include Opuama, Polobubo, and their bloc/satellite communities,” it said.
According to Toruwei, the incident has brought sorrow and anguish to many residents as numerous persons have already even hospitalised. He said one Pa Anthony Ebiogbo of Opuama community lost his life due to gas inhalation arising from the oil spillage in the early hours of Monday 15th March, 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 coming out of the said pipeline, which 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 the Minister of Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to prevail on the management of NPDC/ELCREST to swing into action and take remedial actions by containing the further spread of the spillage, 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 JIV to ascertain the cause of of spillage, send relief materials immediately and make arrangements to compensate the affected communities.”