Women from Kokodiagbene Community, protesting at the Utonana flowstation in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State
By Ebi Perekeme
Lawyers under the umbrella of the Gbaramatu Lawyers Association (Gbaramatu Oloutomo-Abu Gbolei), have issued a 14-day ultimatum to American oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, to take urgent steps to call on all the affected Communities to undertake a post-spill impact assessment to determine the extent and intensity of the oil spillage in Gbaramatu kingdom.
In an open letter dated March 8, 2021 and addressed to the General Manager, PGPA, Chevron Nigeria Limited and signed by Emotimide Friday Esq, President and Werisinde Timiyan Esq, Secretary, the group lamented the oil company’s silence and denials on the lingering oil spillage incident in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state.
The letter reads in full: “We are representatives of the above Association and concerned indigenes of the 18 February 2021 Utonana Flowstation Trunkline oil spill affected Communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West L.G.A Delta State and hereby write on their behalf as follows:
“That there was an oil spill from your Utonana Flowstation Trunkline on the 18th of February, 2021, and the affected Communities have called on your Company, Chevron Nig. Ltd through the Media and several correspondences to take urgent steps to curtail the further spread of the spill. Unfortunately, your Company has deliberately paid deaf ears to the call and cry of the Law abiding citizens of the Communities and rather come up with the untenable and unsustainable position that the spilled oil is not from its facility despite the obvious fact that it is.
“That the said spill from your facility has spread all over the rivers of the affected Communities thereby truncating our fishing activities which is our means of livelihood resulting in untold hardship and starvation. We now directly inhale the dangerous Chemical fumes emanating from the spilled Crude oil leaving many of us hospitalized as a result of the long exposure to the dangerous chemical fumes from the spilled crude oil.
“Despite your feeble attempt at denial, it is common knowledge that the Utonana Flowstation Trunkline is your operational oil facility and we have also been reliably informed that you are making preparations to carry out a repair works on same Utonana Flowstation Trunkline you denied ownership.
“In the light of the above, we therefore urge you to take urgent steps to call on all the affected Communities to undertake a post-spill impact assessment to determine the extent and intensity of the damage and long term effects on the health of the people and ensure that appropriate remedial action is taken for the restoration of the environment and compensation of all the affected Communities within fourteen (14) days from the date of your receipt of this letter and before any repair works are commenced.