Ondo Oil Producing Community Demands N5B Damages From Chevron Over Pipeline Fire



Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

The people of Sukuna Community, an oil producing community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State  has sent a letter of demand to Chevron Oil Exploration Company of Nigeria, seeking for the cleanup of their community and the payment of N5,000,000,000.00 ( N 5 billion naira) damages following an oil pipeline explosion near Chevron’s Ojumole Oil Well which was said to have caused serious health and  environmental degradation to their environment.

According to the letter of demand written by lawyer to the community, Mr Ige Asemudara, the letter reads; we have the instruction of the said Sukuna community (therein referred to “as our clients’) to write you this letter and to make the demands herein contained.

In the letter of demand, the aggrieved community of Sukuna said that  on or about 18th day of April, 2019, Ojumole Oil Well owned and operated by Chevron Oil Exploration Company Limited  suddenly explode causing huge fire and a dreadful disturbing sound that everyone in the community experienced had to experience  shock.

The effect of the explosion and ensuing fire which many are not yet to recovered from  according to the letter from the community lawyer,  Ige Asemudara, produced a very thick and dark smoke which enveloped the entire community’s homes, farms and  ponds , the effects which was completely deleterious to the extent that everybody in the community had to scampered for safety and called for helps.

The Sukuna community in the letter of demands further alleged that despite the enormity of the unfortunate occurrence, the oil exploration company was very nonchalant, looked away with insensitivity and delay, making it possible for the fire to spread to other oil Wells within the Ojumole field , adding that by the time Chevron would wake up from its slumber,  the fire had already gone out at hand.

“Our clients therefore suffered great discomfort, material losses, health hazards, pains, imposed darkness, environmental pollution and degradation for well over two months as the fire raged, blazed and flared up until it was put out at about 1:00pm on the 30th day of June 2019, As we write  the bad effects of the Injurious fire still lingers.” The letter reads.

The community while counting their losses occasioned by the avoidable fire, said they were stunned that in a bid to put out the fire, more havoc were wrecked on the community and personal properties, farms, ponds, compound, field and other parts of the environment as the debris and remnants evacuated from burnt field were deposited on the community without their permission or any lease or sale in that regard.

Irked by these sad developments, the Sukuna community said it made several efforts to communicate with the company in order to be able to find an amicable and just way of resolving the issues, but all efforts was without success, as Chevron has refused, failed or perhaps neglected to approach the community for a solution to the problems created by its actions or inactions and to restore the community to the health and happy conditions of life they enjoyed before  the unfortunate incident.

” Our clients are inclined to believe that your acts as enumerated above are deliberate or reckless as the effects are in the vicinity of crimes against humanity. In the circumstance, we have our clients’ Instruction to demand an immediate cleanup of the entire area affected by the fire and its evacuation processes, to conduct a comprehensive medical examination of every members of our clients’ community and undertake the medical treatment of any aliment or diseases diagnosed on any such person which might have been caused by the fire or its smoke. Our clients are also demanding for a sum of N5, 000 000 000 00 (Five Billion Nara) only as compensation for their losses, discomfort pains, ill health and general degradation of their environment.” The letter from Asemudara stated.

The aggrieved community gave fourteen days to the oil exploration company to meet their demands or take visible steps to meet some, failing which they will be left with no option than to explore every available legal regulatory or other avenue to achieve their desires and demands.



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