By Onome Oghenetega
At least one person has been reported dead after crude oil spill from a ruptured pipeline alleged to be operated by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)/ELCREST Joint Venture ravaged Polobubo (Tsekelewu) communities in Warri North Local Government Areas of Delta State.
The incident which reportedly occurred on Sunday also resulted in the hospitalization of several indigenes of the communities.
The President of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) communities, Mr. Paul Toruwei, confirmed the incident to NIGER DELTA TODAY (NDT) Online, saying the ruptured line is major pipeline transporting crude oil from Opuama flow station in Oil Mining Lease (OML40).
Toruwei, in a statement on Monday, said the incident threw residents of the communities into confusion and mourning as the smell from the crude led to the death of one Pa Anthony Ebiogbo of Opuama Community.
“The ruptured pipeline resulted in spillage of oil in all water bodies and swamp forest of the communities in the operational area which includes Opuama, Polobubo and their bloc/satellite communities.
“The incident has landed residents into sorrow and anguish as numerous persons are already hospitalized while Pa Anthony Ebiogbo of Opuama Community lost his life arising from the oil spillage in the early hours of Monday 15th march 2021.
“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 exudates from the said pipeline, that enveloped the whole vicinity”, he said.
Toruwei called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and the Federal Government to come to the aid of their communities to avert further calamity on the area.
“To forestall further damages to residents of the affected communities, I’m urgently called on the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Sylva and the Governor of Delta State, Dr. 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.
“They should also provide medical care, food, water and other necessities in order to save the lives of residents who have been denied their source of livelihood”, Toruwei further added.
The Communities also called on NOSDRA, DPR and Ministry of Environment to activate the process of JIV to ascertain the cause of the spill as well as to compensate the affected communities.