By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
Contrary to allegations of neglect of the people of Ugbo llaje Ojumole community in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo state by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), the General Manager of the Oil Company, Engineer Esimsje Burkin has disclosed how safety of lives of the people of the area had remained their major concern.
Addressing the 6-man ad-hoc committee on fire incident set up by the state House of Assembly on Tuesday, Engr. Burkin said CNL has been supportive of the communities in its area of operation and sensitive to their concerns.
It would be recalled that the fire incident occurred on April 18, 2019 at Ugbo llaje Ojumole, Oil Well in Ilaje local government area of the state.
But while commenting on the fire incident that occurred at Ojumole field in NNPC/CNL JV’s Western Niger Delta area of operation, the GM said the company was currently working with Emergency Response contractors to safely put out the fire as quickly as possible.
The Chevron GM said due to the peculiar terrain of the well location, there is need to create an access path to the slot leading to the well head.
This according to him would enable the heavy equipment and men required to safely put out the fire, gain access to the well location.
He said the company would continue to keep all stakeholders, including the government, regulatory agencies, media and community leaders engaged on efforts of the company aimed at putting out the fire.
His words , “a joint Investigation visits (JIV), by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and the company , was carried out on Saturday April 20, 2019 to ascertain the extent of the pill, impact on the environment, if any and cause of the spill.
“The JIV to the site of the incident on Saturday April 20, 2019 by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and CNL, determined that the fire incident was caused by third party interference. There were protective mechanical components and installed barriers on the well head, which were tampered with by illegal bunkerers.
“As a result of the third party activity that led to uncontained release of hydrocarbon from Ojumole well with resultant fire incident, the hydrocarbon has been burning continually. Residue of oil are collected while the water and gas in solution have been the source of the fire”.
Chevron GM however said the company placed the highest priority on the health and safety of its neighbouring communities, workforce and protection of the environment and its assets.
Earlier in his address, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun enjoined Chevron to consider the safety of lives and social wellbeing of the people on their heart and put out the fire as quickly as possible.
While disclosing how members of the House had been having sleepiness nights over the ugly incidence, Oleyelogun urged the oil company to see to the cause of the fire and find a lasting solution as an unbiased umpire.
Dr. Akin Akinruntan who spoke on behalf of the community also urged Chevron to pay due compensation of 2.5billion dollars to those communities that are within eight kilometers radius to the fire ravaged area among others.
He however gave a vivid repacaution of possible health hazards that are likely to ravage the lives of the people who are already put of their fishing business if something urgent is not done.
Other Agencies and stakeholders that made their various contributions at the meeting were DPR, NEMA, community leaders, Youth leaders among others.
The 6-man ad-hoc committee on fire incident set up by the state House of Assembly however adjourned the meeting till after Chevron returns from the site.
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