A devastating oil spillage has occurred on the 24 inches Trans Ramos crude oil pipeline owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, affecting over 50 communities under Odimodi Federated Communities in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
Following distress calls, the member representing Burutu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Julius Pondi, the member representing Burutu 1 Constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, Daniel Yingi and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chairman, Delta South senatorial district, Prince Emman Amgbaduba, among others, visited the community for an on the spot assessment of the situation.
Pondi and Yingi who sympathised with the communities affected by the spillage, expressed concern that Shell had not shown any commitment to the plight of the people since the spillage occurred.
They said though Shell had put measures in place to contain the spread and to recover crude oil from the damaged pipeline, the spillage had polluted the entire area, destroying aquatic life which has made fishing which is the major occupation of the people impossible.
The federal and state lawmakers decried that the report of the Joint Investigative Visit, JIV team consisting of Shell, Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA on the spillage was yet to be made public. The lawmakers emphasised the need for the JIV report to be released, stressing that the spillage was not as a result of sabotage but due to equipment failure on the part of Shell, hence the company was trying to avoid it’s responsibility to the community.
They expressed worry that multinational oil companies have always devised means of shortchanging communities whenever a spillage occurred as Shell was yet to meet with the community to discuss with them and assuage their plight. Pondi and Yingi called on Shell to immediately provide relief materials and medicals to all the affected communities, promising to raise the issue on the floor of the National Assembly and Delta State House of Assembly to draw the attention the international community and government to their plight of the people.
The Youth President, Odimodi Community, Dere Potoki and Assistant Secretary, Aaron Amakubakuro said the spillage occurred on four different points on the crude oil pipeline since April 24 ,2018 stressing that the actions of Shell was oppressive to the community.
They accused Shell for showing more concerned about how to recover crude oil from the damaged pipeline without thinking of providing relief materials and medicals to the affected communities, adding that the youths were already getting agitated. The youth leaders noted that Shell had failed to do mapping to know the entire areas affected by the spillage as their patience was fast running out with the company .
Some women who spoke said the aquatic life of the communities and their farmland as well as fishing nets had been destroyed by the spillage and called for urgent attention from Shell and the Federal and state government as hunger had set in because they can no longer go for fishing.