By Emma Arubi
WARRIâ€”ELEVEN impacted host communities to Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC), Orhiapele 24 trunk line that was gutted by fire explosion last November have accused the company and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA of politicizing and tribalising issues of compensation, clean up exercise and relief material to their detriment.
The fire explosion in which some workers died with property worth millions of naira destroyed occurredÂ November 4, 2008 while Joint Investigation/damage assessment visit to the impacted site was done just April this year in company of men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in attendance.
The communities in a letter to the Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, through the counsel, Robinson Ariyo, said with the spill and subsequent explosion, the water body of these communities was completely covered by crude oil, resulting in the loss of fishing rights, damage to nets, fishing ponds, fish traps and related gadgets even as the communities water body has silt-up leading to damaging of their source of drinking water.
They complained that despite the glaring evidences and reality of the spill as witnessed by the visiting team, all attempt at facilitating the release of relief materials, computation and payment of compensation and setting in motion, the process of clean-up and issues of remediation of the degraded environment to its former state have been frustrated by SPDC and NOSDRA officials.
According to them, their communities are have been excluded from subsequent consideration in respect of the release of relief materials, damages and clean â€“up exercise while less impacted communities are been richly rewarded because they are not Itsekiri communities.
They therefore urged Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to wade into this potentially volatile matter to save the state from another SPDC created violence as their patience would soon run out.