Communities lament firm’s alleged dishonesty over inferno
Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) has blamed raging inferno at Ojumole Well 1 in Ilaje Local Council of Ondo State on interference by third party, who released hydrocarbon that caused combustion.
The General Manager, Policy Government & Public Affairs, CNL, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, said this during a public hearing at the Ondo House of Assembly on efforts to put out the fire.
According to him, there was a prompt response to the fire outbreak on Thursday April 18, which affected Ororo, Parable Field, Isan-West Field, Opokaba, Malu Field and spread to other riverine communities.
Other areas reportedly affected by the combustion included, Ehinmoghan-Ikorigho, Iluayo, Otumara, Ikorigho, Ajegunle-Ikorigho, Zion Ikorigho and Kendo Ayeren communities.
Brikinn had earlier confirmed the fire from the Ojumole Well, labeling it an idle and plugged well with no flow-line connected to it, before he was summoned by the lawmakers to explain efforts put in place by the oil company.
He recounted that “a Joint Investigation Visit FFS (JIV) by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and the company was carried out on April 20, 2019 to ascertain the extent of the spill, impact on the environment, if any, and cause of the spill.”
He disclosed that “all oil has been contained within CNL’s right-of-way and is being actively recovered. There are accredited independent environment consultants monitoring the environment.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the 14 communities, represented at the public hearing, Dr. Akin Akinruntan, lamented the company’s reckless abandonment and dishonesty to the host areas and government at large.
Akinruntan listed the ecological, economic and health hazards of the inferno to the people, ranging from poverty, mass relocation for safety, pollution of water source, to deadly diseases.
Speaker of the House, Bamidele Oleyelogun and the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Abayomi Akinruntan, condemned the company for abandoning the communities and poor emergency response mechanism.