Delta community, Chevron tackle escalating oil well fire
Facts emerged yesterday that the April 18, 2019 oil well fire on Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL)’s Ojumole Well 1 in Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North Council, Delta State, is yet to be put out; it was rather expanding and threatening the residents.
The community yesterday raised the alarm that the well head fire, which had been burning for close to two months, escalated, emitting hazardous fumes that threaten the community’s health.CNL General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaju Brikinn, said the peculiar terrain of the well location had made it very difficult for equipment and personnel required to put out the fire to be deployed.
He added that Chevron was currently working with emergency response contractors to safely extinguish the fire as quickly as possible.
The land, which habours the oil well at the boundary of Delta and Ondo states, is reportedly in contention.Yesterday, the Delta community sent a distress call to the federal government and the World Health Oganisation (WHO), urging them to prevail on Chevron to save them from imminent health problems.
On a visit to the area yesterday, The Guardian observed thick soot on roofs, clothes, grasses and bare ground in the community. Heavy dark clouds hung over the area, as thick oil sheen could be seen on the water bodies with floating dead fishes.
The community’s representatives told journalists that they had been living in dire situation of recent and were left with no option than to ask the federal government and WHO to intervene and prevent a looming health disaster. President of Polobubo-Tsekelewu National Council, Mr. Ebilate Mac-Yoroki, said: “I was informed that Chevron engineers cut open the burning well head, causing the fire to be oozing horizontally, with a bigger smoke. All the smoke is heading towards my community, endangering the lives of my people, their crops and animals, yet Chevron still maintains this has nothing to do with Polobubo.
“Our appeal is to the federal government; our governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; and WHO to rally round and save us from this plot targeted at exterminating Polobubo people. I don’t think we have done any wrong for being a peaceful and accommodating host community. For close to two months, this fire has been on and now it is getting bigger,” Mac-Yoroki said.
I want to call out and thank Mr Ebilate Mac-Yoroki and the other folks from Polobubo Community for protesting the added suffering of our people from the well head inferno in a very responsible manner. I watched the protests at Warri on TV three days ago. Thank you!