—Alleges Military Intimidation
—We need Joint Investigation -Akori
—NGC is Highhanded -Odudu
The people of Ikpokpo, Okpele-Ama, Otogbene, Atanba and other Gbaramatu communities in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have called on the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu comes to come to their rescue over the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) Escravos to Warri gas pipeline explosion as detected by the communities.
In a related development, the communities have also called on the Director General of the National Oil Spill Response and Detection Agency, NOSDRA, Mr. Peter Idabor to intervene in the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) use of military men to harass community indigenes.
The call was made recently by Mr. Godwin Akori, Chairman, Ikpokpo Community and Mr. Edward Odudu, Public Relations Officer in a chat with GbaramatuVoice.
According to them, the call became necessary following the recent gas explosion which occurred on the NGC Escravos to Warri gas pipeline on 25th of August, 2017 at Ikpokpo, site of the Gbaramatu Deep seaport project.
Giving details of the incident, Godwin Akori narrated that in the early hours of Friday 25th August 2017, the community noticed massive emission of gas from a gas pipeline underneath their community and immediately captured it on video as well as sent it to NGC representatives in Warri for action.
He further stated that since the incidence, the communities have not received any response from NGC.
The above inaction according to him, has prompted the communities to send a formal letter dated September 18, 2017 to the Managing Director of NGC and the Zonal Head of NOSDRA in Warri through their Solicitors, Messrs E. K. Omare and Company, requesting for an urgent Joint Investigation Team (JIV) to ascertain the cause of the leakage and take steps to bring the leakage to an end.
Lamenting the high-handedness of the NGC management, the community leaders alleged that upon receiving their solicitor’s letter, instead of calling for a Joint Investigation (JIV), the NGC management hired military men with gunboats and went to the communities to intimidate people as well as hurriedly hire a contractor with intention to change the damaged pipeline without a JIV.
Collaborating the above claims, Edwin Odudu stated that even a meeting called by the Zonal Head of NOSDRA in Warri on Thursday, September 28, 2017, was ignored by officials of NGC as they refused to attend.
Odudu finally warned that the situation may degenerate and get out of hand if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation, while pointing out that the intention of NGC is to hurriedly change the damaged gas pipeline so as to conceal the cause of the gas explosion which has emitted so much gas into the environment with the attendant pollution.
The community, therefore, called on the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the DG of NOSDRA to call officials of NGC in Warri to order to avoid a confrontation between the army and youths of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
They further requested the Chief of Army Staff to call military officers attached to the NGC to order to avoid breakdown of law and order.