Published On: Fri, Apr 9th, 2021

7 Urhobo Communities Threaten To Shut Down Heritage Energy Operations Over Oil Spill

LAGOS APRIL 9TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Seven Urhobo communities have threatened to shut down operations of Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd (HEOSL) over its lacklustre attitude in cleaning up the ravaging oil spill in their ancestral farmlands.
The affected communities include Erhobaro, Etavwobakai, Etewhia, Obaro-Uku, Ovara – Unukpo, Atagbuwe and Eroike, all in Ughelli North and Ethiope East local government areas of Delta State.
Representatives of the communities, while narrating their ordeals at the instance of the oil spill, said that the communities woke up in August 2019 to see their farmlands – ponds, rivers and streams overflowed with hydrocarbon (crude oil) from the failed facility of HEOSL.
They said the spill has destroyed their means of livelihood, leaving the people of communities in acute poverty, hunger and suffering.
Speaking on behalf of the affected communities, the trio of Chief Engr John Ikushoni (President General Erhoike Community), Chief Godwin Oviguareya (Representing Land Owners) and Anibor Michael told journalists, on Thursday, that since 2019, the affected communities have not had access to clean water.
According to them, all their lands are polluted with the crude oil from the faulty facilities of the HESOL and all efforts to compel the oil coy to clean up their land for a return to farming have proved abortive.
“Anytime we meet them, they continue to post us here and there and at the end of the day, they give frivolous excuses because they feel they can go to the land and do anything they like.
“If the communities make any serious call on them to come and clean up their land, the next thing you see are military men threatening to kill them and take their communities from them.”
They called on Delta State and Federal Government and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to prevail on HEOSL to do the needful, especially as the rainy season approaches when the entire community is usually messed up with crude oil rendering the whole land barren.
“We have cried to government at all levels and NOSDRA to prevail on HEOSL to reclaim their lands to its original position but to no avail, as they (HEOSL) always gave deaf ears to our cry,” they reiterated.
Meanwhile, the women leader of the federated communities, Mrs Rachael Ukuveghre, while speaking said since 2019 till date, all their means of livelihood have been destroyed by HEOSL including their economic trees, crops, ponds and streams.
Management of HEOSL could not be reached for a reaction as of the time of filing the report.

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