By Onome Oghenetega
Protesting Benikrukru communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State have vowed to continue to occupy Chevron Nigeria Limited’s facility in the area until its Managing Director visit the scene of the oil spillage reportedly caused by their facilities.
The protesters comprising women, youths and other indigenes of the area also faulted the claim by Chevron Nigeria Ltd denying the alleged oil spill was from their 16′ Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana oil fields.
Chairman of the aggrieved Benikrukru communities, Mr. Solomon Eri, who addressed newsmen on Monday as indigenes of the area continued to occupy and halt oil production from the facility, noted that the people will not back down on their demands.
Mr. Eris stressed that the protesters will only free the facility when top management of the company led by its MD visit the scene of the incident to ascertain the level of damage the alleged oil spill from CNL had caused residents.
The affected communities have been protesting the recent spillage alleged to be occasioned by a fractured part of the company’s pipeline within the community.
As of Monday, hundreds of women and youths from the affected communities were still manning the facility thereby halting production activities in the area.
Eris stated, “This time around, it is not going to be business as usual for Chevron Nigeria Limited. We are going to remain here until the Group’s Managing Director leaves his cozy office and comes down here to address us.
“We have made our point clear and simple. The MD and his management team must come here and address us. Until that is done, we are going nowhere. We are going to remain here. This is the first stage.
“No matter how long Chevron Nigeria Limited lives in denial, the situation is not going to change. They recently in a statement denied oil spill from their 16′ Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields in CNL’s Western area of operations in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. We expect Chevron management to come down here and tell us that trash.”
Speaking further, he noted that the communities are working in conjunction with other communities that are also affected by the spillage to ensure a total close down of Chevron operation in the region.
“We must ensure that their business here is paralyzed”, the community chairman warned.
Eris listed other conditions Chevron must meet before they could reach a truce to include provisions of alternative and habitable accommodations, and relief materials/medical supplies to the victims, adding “Most importantly, the protesters are demanding adequate compensation (financial/material) for individuals and affected communities.”
In addition to the above, the chairman insisted that the Company must set up a joint investigation committee to ascertain the level of damage done to the communities by the devastating oil spill from the organisation’s flow station.
The protest which started on Friday, March 27th, 2021, has continued till date.
However, Chevron, operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and CNL, had in a statement said it was aware of a report in the media and some communities about an alleged oil spill from Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana Fields in CNL’s western area of operations, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The statement said CNL has investigated and continues to survey its Assets in the Abiteye and Utonana Fields including the 16” Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye Right of Way (ROW) and confirms that there has not been any indication that the oil sheen on water is from its Assets in Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields or from any other CNL facilities as alleged.