Residents lament as oil spill hits Delta communities

Residents of Amuokpokpor-Elume community and its neighbouring communities in Sapele Council of Delta State are reportedly grappling with oil spill from wellheads, operated by Conoil.

The Guardian gathered the spillage had led to outbreak of waterborne diseases in the various communities. Communities affected include Amuokpokpor-Elume, Ologho, Elume, Okwelabra, Ekoko, Eroghor, Idjekporo, Mereje, Opuraja, in Sapele and Okpe Councils of the state.

The locals, who expressed displeasure over the unfortunate disaster at a peaceful protest in the community, said the river that has been poisoned by the spill remained the only source of drinking, cooking, bathing, and farming activities to the locals just as they demanded justice for their healths, survival and environment.

The Amuokpokpor community Chairman, Mr. Christopher Efe Obule, who led the protesters, said crude oil and natural gas had been pumping into the community river and nearby fishing settlements for weeks along the Amuokpokpor Elume community coastline through other communities before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. He accused Conoil of abandoning their corporate responsibilities in disaster management.

He described the river pollution as very unfortunate disaster that has hit the community since the oil was discovered along the community river over forty years ago.

The community chairman, who lamented the havoc caused to the community, called on the relevant authorities to come to their rescue and restore sound health to their people and healthy environment.

“Our people only source of water remained this river and all our aquatic animals have been killed by the pollution. What has happened here was clear wickedness by the operatives to have left us to suffer for what we know nothing about. They refused to purify the water for our consumption. We have to be contributing and buying sachet water for drinking and cooking.”

Obule, who said some of their children were ignorant of the disaster, drank the polluted water and were hospitalised while others developed skin diseases.

“Our children that drank this water only survived just because of God’s love towards us. After drinking it, they were rushed to nearby community health centres where they were treated for cholera and skin infections.”

Also speaking, the Councillor representing Ward 18 in the council, Sam Azu, called on government at all levels, individuals and organisations to prevail on Conoil to do the needful regarding spills, lamenting that it had grounded economic activities in the area for weeks now.

Azu, who is a native of the community, said the sad incident remained the biggest oil spill disaster in the history of the community since the three wellheads were built there over 40 years.


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