*residents appeal to FG, other agencies’ intervention
By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The residents of NigerCat, Ekpan, In Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State are on high tension over an oil spill currently ravaging the community.
The people are calling on the federal government and other relevant agencies to prevail on the company to do the needful.
Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) is reportedly the operator of the ruptured pipeline from where the crude oil spills.
AUTHENTIC News Daily learnt that the pipeline ruptured since Monday, September 23. But nobody has been able to state whether the incident occurred due to sabotage or not.
Sources said that, ”the oil spil spreading around the neighborhood is seriously causing damage, threat to health and economic activities in the area.
”Crude oil could be seen on some residential and private buildings in the area, causing fear of an imminent fire outbreak in the community.
A resident and member of the Izegbo family who are the ancestral landlords of the affected area, Mr Benson Otomiewo, said that. ”the crude oil flowed like water into several buildings in the neighborhood contaminating our land, water, destroying plants and aquatic life.
”A private property which shares boundary with the breached facility is the most affected.
”The crude oil penetrated the fenced building which is still under construction.
The owner of the affected property, Mr Austin Wareyai said that, ”the spillage forced him to stop construction works on his site.
”The threat to lives and properties within the area is very high, should there be any fire occurrence”.
According to Wareyai, “Hundreds of lives and property worth billions of naira will be lost should there be a fire outbreak, becourse the affected area is close to a filling station, petroleum tankers park and several residential, business buildings,”
”We are appealing to the Federal and Delta state governments, authorities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA), as well as environmental groups to prevail on the company.
The duo of Otomiewo and Wareyai, in separate conversations, alleged that, ”series of letters written to the operating firm, HEOSL, to clean up the spill, have been ignored.
Efforts to get official reation from the management HEOSL, have been futile.
Speaking to our correspondent, the General Manager, Community Relations of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL), Sylvester Okoh, said ”l dont have the capacity to speak on the matter.
“I will direct your call to our corporate communications team in Lagos. Those are the people that have the capacity to speak to people like you,” Okoh said via phone.
He was yet to provide the contact of the communication’s personnel in their Lagos office, as at the time of filing this report.