Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Relief has come the way of indigenes of oil-rich Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North Local Government area of Delta State as the state government has promised to intervene in the raging oil well head being operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited in the area.
The Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, who gave the assurance while addressing protesters from the community in Warri, assured of government’s commitment to finding lasting solutions to their environmental, health and socioeconomic demands.
He also assured that government would put together a visiting team, in conjunction with Chevron Nigeria Limited, the operators of the burning oil-well head, to the community by tomorrow to proffer solutions.
Otuaro, was drawn by the massive, placard wielding protesters, who braved the heavy downpours, forcing him to stop his convoy to attend to the protesters.
They were led by community leaders including the National President of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) National Council (PNC), Mr. Ebilate Mac-Yoroki; Chief Mathew E. O. Tiemo the Secretary of PNC, Mr. Midwest Kukuru; and Hon. Dickson Asoki.
The community, in a position paper presented by Mac-Yoroki, lamented the dire situation the well-head fire had subjected the health of the people and their environment to.
He lamented the lack of concern or empathy by the company operating the facility, adding the community had fallen under serious health and environmental threats because the water and air had been contaminated by oil, gas and black soot.
According to him, the fire from the well-head worsened since last week, releasing a huge cloud of smoke over the community, which has been raining gas, oil and black soot on the community and causing serious health and environmental concerns as well as hunger and lack of water.
“The spewing substance, which we have every reason to believe to be crude oil and gas, is clouding above the whole community and coming down like rain or dew.
“Since this is what we have been having to inhale, we have cause to believe that it is the reason that many of our children are currently sick, running high temperature every night, we have even had many cases of convulsion as well as loss of blood.
“Besides that, everything kept outside is not safe, including our drinking water. Having said that, we wish to make a number of demands from Chevron to ameliorate the situation that this disaster has forced us into:
“We need Chevron to immediately stop this fire and the gas and smoke emission. The company 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,” he demanded.