Twenty-one communities affected by the Ojumole Oil Well fire incident in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State have demanded $2.5 billion (about N850billion) from Chevron Nigeria Limited as compensation for damages caused by the fire.
This was part of the submissions made by the communities on Tuesday to the Ad-hoc committee of the Ondo State House of Assembly probing the incident.
The fire started at the oil well on April 18 reportedly due to illegal oil drilling at the facility by oil thieves.
Despite the fact that there had been pressures from the communities and the Ondo State government for the company to put out the fire, indications are that the fire is still raging.
The submission was made by a leader of the communitites, Akin Akinruntan, on their behalf.
Mr Akinruntan said Chevron should pay the compensation to the affected 21 communities within the eight kilometres radius (due to low and high tide).
He said Chevron’s management should also inform the leadership of the affected communities on the method it had adopted to put out the fire.
He said such disclosure would check the use of dangerous chemicals which could further put the lives of people in the community to jeopardy.
Mr Akinruntan said that medical examination should be carried out on the people exposed to the fire within the eight kilometres radius, while those with signs and symptoms should be treated immediately.
The communities also asked the company to disclose the number of barrels of crude oil it produced per day from the Ojumole Oil Well.
Mr Akinruntan also advised the Ondo State Government to come to the aid of people by critically studying the amnesty international reports of June 2009.
Also, the Chairman of the House Committee investigating the matter, Abayomi Akinruntan, representing Ilaje Constituency 1, said the ecological prospects of people in the affected areas had been destroyed.
Mr Akinruntan decried how the fire incident had destroyed major fishing occupation in the affected communities, saying nobody could go on fishing again.
The lawmaker said that Chevron should properly address the oil field as “Ojumole Oil Field, Ugbo Kingdom, Ilaje Local Government area.
According to him, Chevron should no longer link it with Delta by any guise to forestall the breakdown of law and order between the two states.
General Manager, Policy, Government & Public Affairs of Chevron, Esimaje Brikinn, regretted the fire incident and noted that the company was on top of the situation to put off the fire as soon as possible.
He said the fire incident occurred as a result of vandalism and theft at the oil well, in spite of the security put in place by the company to safe guide the Oil Well in Ojumole.
Mr Brikinn also said that people’s trespasses on the company’s property in the host communities in the whole of the Niger Delta area was of serious concern to the company.
He urged the host communities to be patient with the company, saying that necessary equipment were already being mobilised by fire experts from the U.S to put off the fire.
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