By Sylvester Idowu
National Coordinator of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Comrade Sheriff Mulade has lamented that the failure of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to accept responsibility for the Gbaramatu oil spill was a deliberate plan to undermine the wellbeing and environment of the people living in the affected communities.
Mulade, who made this known in a chat with journalists, said Chevrons claims that the spill is not from its facilities because the pressure in its control room did not indicate that there was a leakage or a drop somewhere was not tenable.
The environmental activist said Chevron should be honest enough to re-examine it claims as there could be system failure that had made it difficult for it to detect the leakage from its facilities in the affected area.
He noted that he is aware that Chevron shares facilities with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) field in Jones Creek flowstation in the affected area but the Chevron’s 16 inches Crude Line runs from Makaraba, through Otunana to Abiteye and the leakage is between Otunana and Abiteye.
According to him, detailed investigations carried out by his NGO- Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, on the oil spill, the leakage was at the centre of Nana River, located between Kokodiagbane and Benikrukru.
“The two communities are adjacent and opposite each other, while in-between them is the Nana River that is a ship line route, where all vessels pass through to Sapele, Koko and Lagos ports.
“If you do an over flight like I heard Chevron did, you may not be able to see the point of leakage because the spill is deep under the river and you may not see it when you move around but only when the tide slows down.
“And because the spill is gas pressured, you stand a chance of being suffocated in the area if you stay there for more than five to ten minutes. That is the extent to which the spill is dangerous,” he added.
Mulade described multinationals oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region as ‘civilized evil’ in the land, that are only committed to environmental sustainability on paper and not practical.