By Emma Arubi
WARRIâ€”AT least two persons have died as a result of health hazards allegedly suffered from oil spillage arising from the evacuation of stolen crude from two seized vessels, MT Akuada and MT Hope, anchored at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) jetty in Warri.
Some concerned natives of Ogbe-Ijoh and NPA communities in Warri South-West and Warri South respectively have, therefore, raised alarm over the ecological devastation in their communities as result of the evacuation of the stolen crude.
Similarly, several families who are mostly peasant fish farmers are faced with starvation caused by the destruction of farmlands and waterways.
The communities in a petition to the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, faulted the professional competence of the people that carried out the evacuation, stating that their negligence and lack of concern for the well being of the people in these communities were responsible for the devastation caused by unprecedented spillage in their home land.
In the petition signed by Chief Gilbert Amorigboha and Mr. Timi Torulegbene, who are the representatives of the impacted communities, the people demanded to know the rationale behind the evacuation of the product.
According to them, investigation had revealed that the document secured from the Defence Ministry was based on deception and false presentation of facts and figures by those who carried out the exercise.
The petition, which was copied to the Minister of Defence, the Joint Task Force (JTF), NPA Board, SSS and the Executive Director, Policing Nigeria Project, fingered a prominent Chief from Edo State and one person from Delta as the brains behind the falsification of documents that led to securing of approval for the evacuation and later engagement ofÂ MT Izomo and MT Concept from Lagos to carry out the transfer of the stolen product.
They called on Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to look into the issue of the evacuation of the stolen crude with the hope of ensuring clean-up by the offenders.
The communities also urged the Ministry of Defence to revisit the issue of approval for the evacuation as the documents and case presented before it had been investigated and discovered to be false.
The communities averred that they could no longer open their eyes and watch their land being devastated by criminals who polluted their environment for their selfish interest.