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One feared dead as oil spill ravages Delta community

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ERA/FoEN tasks HYPREP on centre for Ogoni cleanup
An elderly man has been confirmed dead due to inhalation of gas from spillage in the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and ELCREST pipeline at Tsekelewu and Polobubo communities in Warri North Council Area of Delta State.

Residents of the communities told The Guardian that the spill, which started on Sunday, was still spreading to several adjoining Ijaw communities and disrupting livelihoods in the affected areas.

President of Polobubo Community, Paul Toruwei, explained that on Sunday, March 14, 2021 the major pipeline conveying crude oil from Opuama flow station in Oil Mining Lease (OML40) ruptured resulting in the spillage.

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He disclosed that the incident, which caused the death of the elderly man, identified as Pa Anthony Ebiogbo from Opuama Community had devastated residents as several persons were hospitalised.

However, a senior official of NPDC said he was not aware of the incident, but that the joint venture (JV) partners would respond, as soon as they finish investigating the incident.

The communities appealed to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipri Slyva, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to intervene in the matter.

“They should prevail on the management of NPDC/ELCREST to contain further spread of the spillage and provide medical care, food, water and other necessities to the affected people to save the lives of residents who have been denied their means of livelihood,” they stated.

They also urged the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Ministry of Environment to investigate the spill to ascertain its cause, send relief materials to the communities and compensate the victims.

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MEANWHILE, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has appealed to the new Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) Governing Council to establish a centre of excellence for the Ogoni cleanup process.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had recently inaugurated a new Governing Council and Board of Trustees for HYPREP.

In a statement issued in Benin City Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo and its Porgrammes Director, Mike Karikpo, said Federal Government’s decision on the new HYPREP Governing Council was apt, describing it as ‘a welcome development.’

“The decision will enable the Federal Government to listen to genuine voices of the people and groups monitoring the cleanup process. We hope that sufficient consultation was carried out before members of the new council and board of trustees were appointed,” the statement reads.

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