Chevron (Nig) Ltd’s last week failure to accept responsibility for the Gbaramatu oil spill that had continued to ravage the area for almost two month has been described as a deliberate plan to undermine the wellbeing and environment of the people living in the affected communities.
Making this known in an interview with journalists, a renowned Niger Delta Environmentalist and Human Rights Crusader, Chief Sheriff Mulade said, Chevrons claim that its facilities in the affected area were not responsible for the oil spill because the pressure in its control room did not indicate that there was a leakage or a drop somewhere was not tenable. Rather, he said Chevron should be honest enough to re-examine its claim as there could be system failure that had made it difficult for it to detect the leakage from its facilities in the affected area.
Though, admitting that Chevron shares facilities with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) field Jones Creek flowstation former SPDC in the affected area, the Chevron’s 16 inches Crude Line runs from Makaraba, through Otunana to Abiteye and the leakage is between Otunana and Abiteye.
He said, from the detailed investigations carried out by his NGO- Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ on the oil spill, the leakage was at the centre of Nana River, located between Kokodiagbane and Benikrukru.
The two communities are adjacent and opposite each other, while in-between them is the Nana River that is a ship line route, where all vessels pass through to Sapele, Koko and Lagos ports, Chief Mulade said.
Disclosing that Chevron facilities in the area might not be exonerated from the spill, Chief Mulade said, “If you do an over flight like I hear Chevron did, you may not be able to see the point of leakage because the spill is deep under the river and you may not see it when you move around but only when the tide slows down.
“And because the spill is gas pressured, you stand a chance of being suffocated in the area if you stay there for more than five to ten minutes. That is the extent to which the spill is dangerous”, he added.
He said, the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice observed this and called on Chevron to immediately address the spill, but the response from the company had not been impressive.
“It is even more worrisome to observe that our investigations revealed that the spill is gorging out gradually from a ‘needle leakage’, hence it is difficult to note early or detect.
The peace and environmental right advocates frowned at Multinationals oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria particularly the Niger Delta region as civilised evil in the land, there are only committed to environmental sustainability on paper not practical; Chief Mulade added.