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Delta community protests, demands action on oil well fire

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[FILES] A gas flare burns at the Batan flow station operated by Chevron under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the onshore and offshore assets in the Niger Delta region on March 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Indigenes of Polobubo-Tsekelewu community in Warri North Local Council of Delta State at the weekend protested and demanded that the state government should intervene to save them from impending health risks where an oil well fire had persisted since April 18, 2019.

They want the state government to compel Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) to quickly move to the location and put out the well fire, which they alleged, had been spreading since almost two months it began.

But the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who arrived the scene to address the aggrieved protesters, assured the people of the community that urgent measures to find lasting solutions to their demand would be taken.

He said that government would set up a visiting team in conjunction with CNL and other stakeholders to tour the impacted areas in the community tomorrow (Tuesday).

The placard-carrying protesters, who were not deterred by the heavy downpour and led by the National President of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) National Council (PNC), Mr. Ebilate Mac-Yoroki, in a statement, lamented the dire situation that the well-head fire had subjected the health of the people and their environment to, and the alleged lack of concern by the company operating the facility.

Mac-Yoroki, who reiterated that the community faced serious health and environmental threat because the water and air had been contaminated by oil, gas and black soot, said the well-head fire worsened since Monday when some Chevron contractors worked on the spot, spreading the fire horizontally and releasing huge plume of smoke and soot over the community.

They, therefore, demanded that Chevron should immediately stop the fire, gas and smoke emission, send qualified medical doctors to start attending to all the sick and weak in the community and that the community lacked clean potable water because the ones they currently drink had been polluted from their sources.

They also demanded that an assortment of foods be sent to them as their children were hungry and that Chevron should immediately embark on a process of cleaning the waters within and surrounding the community.


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