By Anita Godfrey
Communities in the Egbema Kingdom, particularly the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, have accused oil firms domiciled in the area such as Chevron, NPDC of causing indiscriminate saline pollution of their water and the entire environment.
A leader of the community, Dr Bright Abulu, speaking at a press conference in commemoration of this year’s World Environment Month, tagged: “Only One Earth, One Homeland Polobubo (Tsekelewu)” while accusing the oil companies of contributing to the high level of pollution in the area, issued a 14-point demand for urgent remediation of the ravaged environment.
It would be recalled that the event was put up to draw the attention of the federal and state governments including the international community to the ugly trend among inhabitants of the impacted area.
The leaders who spoke through the Dr Abulu requested remediation from the perpetrators of the environmental injustice.
The oil-rich community further accused Chevron, Shell and NPDC of polluting their hitherto freshwater resources by exposing their natural water bodies to the saline water of the Atlantic Ocean in the cause of intensive oil exploration and exploitation.
The community as well issued a 14-point demand for restitution and restoration for its economic and socio-cultural activities that have been gravely disrupted by the effects of the widespread devastation.
Dr Bright Abulu, who is the President-General, Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community Development Association (PCDA), narrated at the event: “Polobubo, originally a freshwater environment with fresh water ecosystems, has been replaced by a saltwater environment due to the exploration and exploitation of crude oil by companies operating in Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community and sister communities. It may interest you to know that the Polobubo community is host to Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria Petroleum Development Company/Elcrest Nigeria limited JV (NPDC/ElCrest), Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited and Sahara Energy Services Limited.
“These companies have contributed to the devastation, pollution and destruction of our ecosystems and brought Polobubo community to its pitiable environmental condition.”
The community demanded the cleaning, remediation and reparation of the environment, land reclamation and shoreline protection, canalization and dredging of Opuama/Polobubo creeks, among others, by the oil firms under the authority and direction of the Federal Government.
The community leader demanded, among others, that: “Cleaning, remediation and reparation of the environment should be executed for Polobubo community by Federal Government of Nigeria and Delta State Government as well as SPDC, Chevron Nigeria Limited, NPDC/ElCrest JV and Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited as stated in the 2022 Nigeria Petroleum Industry Act, Section 101(2,3) by 2023.
“Land reclamation and shoreline protection projects should be executed for Polobubo community by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Niger Delta Develop Commission (NNDC) and Delta State Government before 2024.”
They also demanded the payment of “fair and adequate compensation due to siltation, seasonal flooding, saltwater intrusion, loss of vegetation, loss of sources of livelihood, reduction in biodiversity, and the outbreak of water-borne/impounded diseases caused by devastation, pollution and destruction of our ecosystems by SPDC, Chevron Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV before 2024.”
The statement reads “special visits and investigations to Polobubo community to see things for themselves”. The people as well demanded the immediate blockade of the Western Bypass Canal that linked Polobubo community to the Atlantic Ocean by Chevron Nigeria Limited and the Federal Ministry of Works before December 2025.”
Others who speak at the event included international human rights and environmental award-winning journalist, Ibiba Don-Pedro, publisher of the Pot-Harcourt based ‘The Point Newspaper’, Chief Tiemo Anthony, Rev. T.D. Clement, Sir Richard Aboh, Mrs Abulu Ghana and Mr Christmas Akugha.