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Illegal oil bunkering/land encroachment: SPDC lists effects on health, environment

SPDC

SHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has listed dangers inherent in Illegal Oil bunkering, illegal oil refining and encroachment on the right of way ravaging the Niger Delta.

The oil giant, at a seminal forum organised for journalists in Warri, Delta State, recently, underscored reasons perpetrators of the economic sabotage should desist in their own interest.

The theme of the seminar was “Pipeline Vandalism Health of the Environment and the Niger Delta People.”

Regional Community Health Manager, SPDC, Dr Akin Fajola, in his presentation on the health implications of illegal bunkering/refining, said the operators directly expose themselves to untold obnoxious hydrocarbon.

This chemical substance, he noted, causes eye irritation, dermatitis and respiratory challenges because of inhalation of the smoke.

With his PowerPoint presentation laced with real-life graphics, Dr Fajola, who was represented by Dr Ufuoma Ovwigho, added burns and outright loss of lives in severe cases through fire explosion as part of the dire effects.

Other health implications of oil theft and illegal refining of crude oil, he averred, included mental health issues, emotional trauma, mood changes, stress due to vibrations and disrupted sleep.

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The SPDC official further rolled out the longterm implications of hydrocarbon from Crude Oil Theft and illegal refining to included fire explosion and destruction of terrestrial and aquatic life, water pollution from vandalized pipelines, the explosion of pipes resulting from sabotage, and the destruction of wetland.

She also lamented negative effects of the menace on the nation’s economy as well as the region and the communities, saying it hinders the developmental progress of host communities.

The Shell official asserted that pipeline vandalism which was at a low in 2016, has upped in the Niger Delta region, such that illegal oil bunkering and crude oil theft accounts for 80 per cent of pipeline leaks while equipment failure is just 20 per cent.

In his remarks on the way forward, the General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr Igo Weli, represented by Evan Krukrubo, reiterated that the company was fully ready to create a mutual relationship with its host communities in order to create more employment opportunities for youths.

Mr Krukrubo also urged journalists to be patriotic in propagating information on the dangers resulting from crude oil theft, and other crude oil-related illegalities in the region.

He debunked insinuations that SPDC has quitted Delta State, describing it as spurious.

“That we do not have our operational office in Warri, does not mean that we’re not in Delta, we’re still in Delta.

“In the riverine areas such as Forcados, Otumara, also in Escravous, we’re still operating there. So, we’re still in Delta.

“I wonder why people always say Shell should come back; we’re still operating here,” he insisted.

Mr Krukrubo disclosed SPDC’s Social Investments Programmes for host communities particularly in the area of primary healthcare services in the Niger Delta, which, he noted, has gulped over N10 billion.

He added that through its GMoU, 50 midwives per state in the Niger Delta, have been trained to enhance safe delivery and reduce maternal mortality, just as over one million dollars was spent in providing relief materials to IDPs across the region during the last flooding.

SPDC’s Lead, Encroachment Management, Amaechi Ucheoma, on his part, frowned on encroachment of SPDC’s acquired land by natives, especially in spite of being handsomely paid off, sometimes, twice, blaming it on the Nigerian governments whom, he argued, hardly inspects acquired lands and sites with a view to securing them.

According to him, monitoring and possible eviction of trespassers from SPDC’s right of way are necessary in order to protect the lives of people in its host communities.

While urging the media to assist in this regard, the SPDC official regretted the peculiar case of one Don Jazzy who, like others, had been well-compensated to quit the company’s land at Otumara, but has refused and has continued to expand his territory and attracting others back to the area.

Shell’s Ucheoma, who emphasised on the danger of right of way encroachment, cautioned the Otumara people and others against the further erection of structures, living and doing business on oil and gas pipelines’ right of way.

He disclosed that the law only permits people to keep 30 metres away from any oil and gas pipeline, which, he lamented, people usually deliberately disobey thereby endangering their lives.

“People ignorantly set up business structures close to pipelines’ right of way.

“We are appealing to the media to help us sustain the campaign against encroachment against Shell facilities.

“Apart from the danger, it poses to lives and property, encroachment on oil and gas pipeline’s right of way is another form of economic sabotage, which adversely affects production.

“In the case of Otumara, ‘Don Jazzy’ has refused to move out. He has earlier moved out after collecting compensation, but he returned.

“Our concern is not the investment per se, but the safety of the people is most important to us.

“The conversation is on; we have also engaged the local government chairman of Warri South West LGA to see how we can get the man out of the place,” Mr Ucheoma noted.

Other officials SPDC, who spoke at the event, were the Media Relations Manager, Bam Olugbenga Odugbesan,  Engr. John Okogie and SPDC West spokesperson, Michael Akande.

The post Illegal oil bunkering/land encroachment: SPDC lists effects on health, environment appeared first on Tribune Online.



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