By Our Correspondent
Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs while reacting to the recent protests that greeted the oil spill that was alleged to be from assets of Chevron Nigeria Limited, in the Gbaramatu area of Warri South-West LGA of Delta State raised doubts about the aerial investigation purportedly carried out by the company and ordered “for an immediate joint investigation team involving all stakeholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), Chevron, Delta State Government and relevant agencies to ascertain the cause of the spill and determine the owner-company of asset.”
Addressing a press conference on the issue, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, Fiyewei (Spokesman) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, said: “Following an oil spill alleged to be from assets of Chevron Nigeria Limited, in the Gbaramatu area of Warri South-West LGA of Delta State, affected community representatives across all communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, have inundated the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs with complaints on the deleterious effects of the spill.
“It is against this background that we made our own investigations on the spill and decided to address the press on the concerns of our people.”
Going further, the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs observed and stated that, “Our investigations clearly show an oil spill which has meandered through and beyond the creeks and rivulets of Gbaramatu Kingdom owing largely to lack of immediate steps to curtail the spread. The locals have had to abandon their fishing expeditions, even as they develop respiratory problems due to smell of fumes of the spill.
“The oil spill which occurred about six weeks ago was promptly reported to Chevron Nigeria Limited believed to own the assets that produced the spill. The company, Chevron, has been in denial till now. On Saturday, March 27, 2021, the Company through its General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, denied that the oil sheen on the waters are from its assets.
“We call for an immediate joint investigation team involving all stakeholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Chevron, Delta State Government and relevant agencies to ascertain the cause of the spill and determine the owner-company of asset. We think that a unilateral aerial investigation reportedly conducted by Chevron is not reassuring as we know that assets passing through the site of spill are exclusively owned by Chevron Nigeria Limited. We wonder how an alleged aerial investigation could establish any meaningful fact.
“As custodians of the welfare of our people, we hold and call on the Federal, State Government and the Oil Companies operating in the area to rise up to the challenge of ameliorating the sufferings of the people, even before we ascertain blame. The people are suffering. We call for relief materials to enable the local populace survive the displacement and conditions caused by the oil spill. It would be a sad commentary that Chevron and other oil companies fold their arms while their host communities suffer the deleterious effects of the oil spill.
“We commend our people on the non violent and peaceful occupation of the Abiteye, Otunana and Makaraba flow stations and ask them to sustain the peace while we continue our appeal to relevant authorities to address the issues.”