7 communities in Ughelli North, Ethiope East overrun by crude oil as Urhobo women plan to dance naked, occupy premises of Heritage oil
Seven communities of Delta state have threatened to shut down operation of a multinational oil exploration firm operating in their land over what they described as a lackluster, wicked and barbaric approach of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) towards clean-up of ravaging oil spill in their ancestral and farmlands.
Representatives of the communities while narrating their ordeals in the hands of the management of HEOSL said the communities woke up in August 2019 to see their farmlands, ponds, rivers and streams overflown with crude oil from the failed facility of the oil firm as a result all their means of livelihood were destroyed, leaving the communities in acute poverty, hunger and suffering.
Speaking on behalf of the affected communities, the trio of Chief Engr. John Ikushoni (President General Erhoike Community), Chief Godwin Oviguareya (Representing Land Owners) and Anibor Michael, told journalists that since 2019 the affected communities have not had access to clean water.
They said all their lands are polluted with the crude oil from the faulty facilities of the HESOL and all efforts to compel the oil firm to clean their and refertilize the land so that the people could go back to their farmland were abortive as HEOSL always pay deaf ears to their plights for the two years.
“Anytime we meet them they continue to post us here and there and at the end of the day they gave frivolous excuses because they feel they can go to the land and do anything they like.
“If the communities make any serious call on them to come and clean their land the next thing you see is military men threatening to kill them and take their community from them”.
While calling on Delta state and federal governments and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to prevail on Heritage Energy to do the needful, they said as the rainy season is approaching the entire community will be in danger because they will be covered with the crude oil and nobody can do anything in the affected communities.
The representatives of the affected communities while threatening that if the management of HEOSL further fails to heed to their call they will be left with no other option than to ask them to leave their communities
“We have cried to government at all levels and NOSDRA to prevail on HEOSL to reclaim our lands to its original position but to no avail as HEOSL always pays deaf ears to our cry, the communities said.
They noted that several letters have been written through a competent lawyer and Joint Investigation Visits (JIV) by all affected stakeholders have been carried out and NOSDRA assured them that the affected communities lands, ponds, rivers and streams will be clean and compensation will be pay by HEOSL.
But sadly since then till now the company neither cleaned their land non paid compensation for the crops damaged.
Also speaking the woman leader of the federated communities, Mrs. Rachael Ukuveghre, said since 2019 till date all means of their livehood have destroyed by HEOSL,
She said their economic trees, crops, ponds and streams have been polluted and destroyed.
“Plans are on the pipeline for us to relocate to the premises of the company, we will occupy the premises, we will dance naked in their premises until they listen to us” she threatened.
The affected communities include Erhobaro, Etavwobakai, Etewhia, Obaro-Uku, Ovara – Unukpo, Atagbuwe and Eroike all in Ughelli North and Ethiope East local government area of Delta State.