By Bulou Kosin
Olero Oil Field Communities in Warri North area say diseases and economic challenges which were worsened by pollution of environment require urgent remedial steps just as the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro demanded patience on government response.
The oil-bearing communities made demands on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over concerns that held security agents complicit in their travails, on a day the deputy governor made a stop-over from a helicopter-driven aerial assessment of the impact of illegal bunkering activities in the Warri territory.
Responding to protesters and speech presented by Mr. Iluwa K. Simeon, Chairman, Olero Oil Field Communities, the Deputy Governor, who chairs the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, agreed: “the livelihood sources of the people have been so impacted by illegal bunkering activities that have despoiled the area”.
Otuaro assured: “On behalf of Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, we would do something about your catalogue of requests. We may not be able to do all but we’ll interface and deepen discussions with your leaders and know what to prioritize going into the next budgetary preparations. Thank you for your warm and peaceful atmosphere, in spite of your challenges, for oil exploration and production to take place”.
Mr. Iluwa Simeon had stated: “It is obvious that government is making partial efforts at stopping illegal bunkering activities in our area. Nevertheless, the approach of burning recovered stolen petroleum products by the military has caused more harm than good. Our environment has been degraded, polluted and devastated due to illegal bunkering and related activities”.
“Some of the health challenges and complications suffered due to petroleum hydrocarbons in our waters include but not limited to renal (kidney) failure, skin rashes and irritations, respiratory system disorders, miscarriages in women, infertility and childhood/birth defects”, the oil communities stated, while condemning illegal oil bunkering.
The Olero field communities in a memo of demands made available to the Deputy Governor want immediate stoppage of burning of stolen and illegal petroleum products on their rivers, supply of drinkable water, secondary and tertiary health facilities to address health challenges from pollution and training on fish pond farming and use of trawlers.