By Ochuko Akuopha
MIFFED by what they described as the lackadaisical attitude of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited, HEOSL, towards the clean-up of areas impacted by oil spillage in their domains, seven host communities of the multinational oil company have vowed to shut down its operations in the communities should it further fail to meet their demands.
The communities, Erhobaro, Etavwobakai, Etewhia, Obaro-Uku, Ovara-Unukpo, Atagbuwe and Erhoike, Ughelli North and Ethiope East Local Government Areas, Delta State, alleged that the oil spillage occurred in August 2019 due to failure of the company’s equipment, leading to the pollution of their farmlands, ponds, rivers and streams
Speaking on behalf of the communities, Chief John Ikushoni (President General Erhoike Community), Chief Godwin Oviguareya (Representing Land Owners) and Anibor Michael lamented that their means of livelihood had been destroyed by the spillage, leaving their people in acute poverty.
They noted that all efforts to compel the company clean up their land to enable the people go back to their farmlands had proved abortive as HEOSL had allegedly always paid deaf ears to their plights.
“Anytime we meet them they give frivolous excuses because they feel they can go to the land and do anything they like. If the community make any serious call on them to come and clean their land the next thing you see is military men”, Ikushoni said.
According to Oviguareya, “We have cried to government at all levels and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA to prevail on HEOSL to clean up the lands and bring them to their original position but to no avail.”
Noting that the communities were in danger of being covered with crude oil as the rainy season approaches, they said they will be left with no other option than to ask the company to leave their communities if it further fails to heed their calls.