Hunger , Epidemic Threatening UZERE Community Over OML 30 Oilsipllage


Apr 17, 2024


By Paul Okojie, Mercy Onyenweli

It is a known fact that the consequences of Oil spillage on the surface of the soil are drastic and could sometimes leave the environment and the People within the spilled area in pains, if there are no proper clean up to evacuate and remediate the affected soil.

Reports have shown that most communities in Niger Delta had always been on the receiving end of the fall out of oilspillage due to outright negligence of operational companies.

Some of the outcome of oilspill are destruction of aquatic life, soil , outbreak of epidemic and the environmental challenges that pose health issues on the people.

Uzere Community is one of these Communities that have experienced the torture of cruel treatment from oil companies operating within its environment.

September, 2023 is one of those months Uzere People would have wished never came but nature being what no Human can control , came with its evil.

Unknowingly to indigenes of the Community, Vanders strucked the oil mining Lease 30 (OML.300) IN Etokpa Bush along Uzere/Aviara road at night which resulted in spillage.

Investigation revealed that According to the operational law, the company is liable to the community only when the oil spillage occured as a result of facility failure but when it is due to third party infractions, the operating company would not be liable and would also be in the position to recommend the contractor to carry out the clean up .

This was the case of Uzere Community versus Heritage Energy Operational Services.

The Peace Loving Uzere Indigenes who are predominantly Fishmen and Crop farmers did not have issues with the company’s management arrangements to clean up the affected soil, rather, they were looking upto the clean up of the oilspillage before flooding season starts.

Investigations revealed that after series of complaints and petition were sent to the Company, DEMOTEK COMPANY was officially contracted to carry out the clean up .

This development gave Uzere Community some form of relief that the spillage will not spread into their farmlands and ponds which are their source of livelihood.

Monitoring DEMOTEK clean up, the Community were not satisfied with the slow pace at which the work was being carried out which they drawn the attention of Heritage Energy Operational Services to.

Their fear is the coming if the floods will not only increase but will also spread the spillage to other farm lands which initially were not affected, this they said would amount to the company compensating the farmers for negligence.

After many petitions, it was gathered that DEMOTEK returned back to the site as the clean up commence earnestly. In between the clean up, the rain came in torrent, which led to flooding that forc d the contractor to leave the site. UZERE Community suffered the consequences as the spill spread out to their farmlands destroying crops and fish ponds.

Investigations have further revealed that the leadership of the Community did not leave any stone untouched trying to get the Heritage Energy Operational Services to direct their Contractor to return back to site and carry out proper clean up and remidiation but all these demands had fell on deaf ears.

Traumatized with hunger and severe economic challenges, Uzere people are calling for compensation of affected farmland and pond and urgent clean up of the community before intense rain begins or else there would be total breakdown of operations in all the facilities of Heritage Energy Operational Services in the Community.

Speaking with the Clandestine Crusaders Voice Correspondent , the President General of Uzere Kingdom, Prince Eholor lamented that if Herritage Energy Operational Services fails to carry out proper clean up and remidiation, the people of the kingdom will be left with no option than to stop the operations in the area.

“Untill the surface of the affected part is properly scrapped off to the level the crude sinked into the soil, there is nothing that will germinate in those lands again.”

” To tell you the delicate nature of spill on our lives, if there is any spark of fireout break within that area, that soil will burn till the affected soil is consumed completely and if any epidemic breaks out, it will sweep lives away.”

” Recently, some farmers who were cultivating their lands for planting had a spark of fire in their land, before we knew what was happening , the affected soil within that area started burning. This fire lasted for days and the people were scared of being consumed”.

“I am calling on the Delta State Government to prevail on the Herritage Energy Operational Services to carry out the proper clean up and remidiation to save our people from looming dangers.”.

One of the affected farmers , Peter Oghmomo, the Olotoru of Uzere Kingdom said he is currently not farming on his hectares of land due to the Oilspill that spread down to his farmland.

According to him, the Oilspill was about 3killometers away from his farmland but because the contractor failed to carry out the cleanup on time, the flood spread the Oilspill to his farm where all his crops were destroyed.

“We are appealing to the government and the management of the company to come to our rescue before another raining season occurs. We expected that they would have completed the clean up by now but we were disappointed when they remain adamant despite multiple protest letters written to them”.

Another affected farmers, Prince Owohoro who doubles as fish and crop farmer affirms that hunger is currently ravaging the community due to the Oilspill that occured September last year.

” When the spill occured, the attention of the company was drawn to it but their body language was not encouraging, so we were advised to snap and video the extent of damages done before the rain start. Thank God we did and we accompany our protest letters with the pictures but yet, they have remain unmoved. That we are peace loving people should not be taken for granted as hunger can push anyone to do the uninmaginable.”

Another farmer also called on the Government to prevail on the company as things are getting out of hand.

Scooping further, our correspondents gathered from the Primary Spokesperson, General Manager Government, Joint Ventures & External Relations for Heritage Company, Mr Sola Adebawo that the Oilspill occured during the raining season which made complete clean up difficult.

Mr. Sola noted that Heritage Energy Operational Service remains a responsible organization that would not joepardized the wellbeing of UZERE Indigenes.

He assured that arrangements are in top gears to carry out complete clean up and Remidiation in UZERE Community.

Putting a call across to the President General of UZERE kingdom, Prince Eholor on the 16th of April, 2024, he confirmed that Heritage Energy Operational Service Ltd has started the clean up process as a result of the earlier report on the oil spillage.

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