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Protesting Delta communities occupy Chevron, vow not to leave until demands are met

Protesting members of Benikruku communities in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State have vowed not to quit the facilities of Chevron Nigeria Ltd until their demands were met.

Women and youths from the Gbaramatu communities began the occupation of Chevron platforms at Abiteye and Otunana fields since last Friday over an oil spill they alleged has endangered their source of livelihood.

Chairman of the aggrieved Benikrukru communities, Solomon Eris while speaking on behalf of his people on Monday at the occupied platforms, warned that there would be no end in sight to the continued occupation of the Chevron facilities until the management of the company addresses and meets their demands.

The Gbaramatu communities have been occupying Chevron’s facilities at Abiteye and Utonana Fields for four days running, protesting against the recent spillage allegedly occasioned by a fractured part of the company’s pipelines within the community.

But Chevron, in a statement had on Saturday by the General Manager, Policy, Governmènt and Public Affairs (PGPA), Esimaje Brikinn, said that the has investigated and continues to survey its assets in the Abiteye and Utonana Fields including the 16” Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye Right of Way (ROW) with no confirmation that the oil sheen on the water is from its Assets in Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields or from any other CNL facilities as alleged.

However, the communities’ chairman, Erìs on Monday, insisted that his people would not evacuate the platform and “this time around, it is not going to be business as usual for Chevron Nigeria Limited.

“We are going to remain here until the Group’s Managing Director leaves his cosy office and comes down here and addresses us.

“We have made our point clear and simple. The MD and his management team must come here and address us. Until that is done, we are going nowhere. We are going to remain here. This is the first stage.

“No matter how long Chevron Nigeria Limited lives in denial, the situation is not going to change.

“They recently in a statement denied oil spill from their 16′ Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields in CNL’s Western area of operations in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.”

Speaking further on the subject, Brikinn, said “We take incidents of oil spill seriously. Our surveillance programme is an ongoing exercise ingrained in our processes; and we respond to every report of a spill by following established industry regulatory processes, including engagements with communities and regulators, and Joint Investigation Visits (JIV), to determine the source, cause and impact of such spills. These are ongoing in the current case.”

He added that after the initial report of an alleged spill in the area, CNL conducted an overflight of the area with the regulators, Department of Petroleum Resources and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, and it was confirmed that there has been no spill emanating from any CNL’s assets in the area.

 

Nigerian Tribune

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