Dayo Johnson Akure.
ONDO state House of Assembly has directed Chevron Nigeria Limited to clean up all the 21 communities affected by the April 18 fire incident at Ojumole oil well in Ilaje council area of the state.
This is coming as the members of the Assembly have refused to hold plenary, a month after the alleged snake invasion of the Chambers.
Instead the lawmakers only hold committee meetings in the conference hall while the chambers remained unattended to after the ceiling collapsed.
Meanwhile, the ad hoc committee set up by the Assembly to investigate the inferno at Ojumole Oil field met with critical stakeholders including Chevron top officials and representatives of the affected communities yesterday at the Speaker’s conference room in Akure.
The clean up directive to the oil company was expected to be carried out in line with environmental safety regulations.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, the Secretary of the ad hoc committee, Benjamin Jaiyeola said that the ongoing interface between the people and Chevron should be strictly monitored to ensure that all the affected communities are reached in no distant time.
Jaiyeoka noted that the meeting also resolved that efforts should be geared up to put in place a permanent health facility in the affected communities and that Chevron should create jobs for the youths in the oil-producing communities.
“The meeting also resolved that the ad hoc committee must be notified and properly informed on all major activities carried out in these communities and Chevron should create an administrative office in Ilaje Local Government Area as soon as possible.
“It was also resolved that Chevron should liaise with the state board of internal revenue on the issue of arrears of taxes owed by the company and quickly report back to the committee within the next one month.
“The committee urged the chairman of the affected communities to relate with the lawmakers through their secretary concerning developments on the issue.
They lauded the company for its prompt response in putting out the fire by using modern technology and urged Chevron to do more to impact the lives of the affected communities.
Recall that the Assembly set up a six-man ad hoc committee on May 7 during its plenary to investigate the fire outbreak.
Twenty-one communities affected by the Ojumole Oil Well fire incident had demanded $2.5 billion from Chevron Nigeria Limited as compensation for damages caused by the fire.
This was part of the submissions made by the communities to the Ad-hoc committee of the Ondo State House of Assembly probing the incident.
Reacting, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron, Esimaje Brikinn said that ” Post-fire cleanup exercise is presently ongoing, while environmental monitoring by accredited independent environmental consultants continues in the area, with support from regulatory agencies. Our employees are also on site, while normal activities are ongoing in the area.
He said that “CNL remains committed to the safety of the communities and the environment in its areas of operation. We continue to conduct our operations safely, reliably and efficiently, with utmost consideration for protection of people and the environment.
Brikinn thanked the legislators for the invaluable support provided to CNL and professionalism in handling the incident.
Accirding to him “CNL also thanks the Ondo Government, the neighboring communities and all other stakeholders, including regulatory and security authorities that worked with the NNPC/CNL JV to ensure that the fire incident caused by third party interference, was safely put out.