Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) has called on relevant agencies in the oil and gas sector to, as a matter of urgency, prevail on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to stop further use of untreated hazardous chemicals in Sokebolou and Yokiri waterways in Burutu Local Government area of Delta State.
The NGO also urged President Muhammadu Buhari; the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Silver; Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, and other relevant stakeholders in the region to intervene and save the lives of the people of the two communities.
National Coordinator of CEPEJ, a NGO advocating for a cleaner, better and healthy environment, made the allegation in response to calls from indigenes of the affected communities.
“Our attention was drawn to the ugly menace and investigation carried out clearly showed that SPDC deposited some unnamed dangerous hazardous chemical into Sokebolou, Yokiri Obotobo 1 & 2, and other communities’ waterways at Ogulagha Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, which is currently constituting serious health hazards to the people and has also led to the destruction of aquatic organisms living in the waterways,” the group added.
They alleged further that information gathered from leaders of the affected communities, Prince Churchill Dose, Chairman Sokebolou community and Engr. Moses Ibilou, Chairman Yokiri community, showed that, “the deadly chemicals were deposited by SPDC Jack-up rig operations activities at its WELL 73 and has resulted in the death of fishes and other aquatic organisms.
“Lives are no longer safe in the communities as their people are coming down with complex health challenges due to the chemical. The chemical is killing fishes and more frightening is that people from other areas are coming to Sokebolou, Yokiri and Obotobo 1 & 2 communities waterways to pick-up fishes killed by the said dangerous unknown chemical deposited by SPDC operations within the communities”, it added.
CEPEJ therefore called on the federal, state government, NOSDRA, NESREA, relevant environmental experts and environmental regulatory bodies of both States and Federal Government to order SPDC to stop the illegal environmental pollution “through the release of this unknown deadly chemical into the territorial waters.