A PRESS STATEMENT BY POLOBUBO (TSEKELEWU) COMMUNITY,
WARRI NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, DELTA STATE IN COMMEMORATION OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY/MONTH AT BB HOTEL, DECO ROAD, WARRI, DELTA STATE, NIGERIA
JUNE 15, 2022
Gentlemen of the Press, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the good people of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community of Egbema kingdom, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, I welcome you to this press conference on the World Environment Day commemoration by Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community.
As the world commemorates World Environment Day in June 2022 with the theme ” Only One Earth” which emphasizes the dire environmental crisis facing humanity, we wish to urgently draw the attention of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria Petroleum Development Company/Elcrest Nigeria limited JV (NPDC/ElCrest), Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited, Sahara Energy Services Limited, the Federal Government of Nigeria, Delta State Government, and the World to the human and environmental crisis facing our only homeland Polobubo (Tsekelewu).
Polobubo, originally a fresh water environment with fresh water ecosystems has been replaced by salt water environment due to the exploration and exploitation of crude oil by companies operating in Polobubo/Tsekelewu community and sister communities. It will interest you to know that Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community is host to Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria Petroleum Development Company/Elcrest Nigeria limited JV (NPDC/ElCrest), Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited and Sahara Energy Services Limited.
These companies have contributed to the devastation, pollution and destruction of our ecosystems and brought Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community to its pitiable environmental condition.
Negative Impact of Operations of Oil Companies on Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Environment
- Chevron Nigeria Ltd in 1980s, constructed a Western Bypass Canal in order to bring in its equipment through the Atlantic Ocean for the construction of the Opuekeba Production Platform which led to the introduction of saline water into the natural fresh water and the destruction of the natural fresh water ecosystem in Polobubo community. Our fathers protested the Western Bypass Canal construction in the 1980s. They were molested and detained in Akure, Ondo state by Security Operatives. Several of our youth have also been killed by Security Operatives attached to the oil companies when they protested violations of our rights and the destruction of our environment over the years. Due to the construction of the Western Bypass Canal by Chevron Nigeria Limited, over time, a siltation of the waterways around our community occurred, leading to mud sludge and siltation of the Oloduwa River leading to Polobubo community and other water bodies. The Polobubo waterways used to be 9 fathoms deep up to the 1970s, providing us abundant sustenance with a rich marine life and life sustaining fresh water. Polobubo was known for its rich variety of fauna including antelopes, crocodiles, alligators and manatees which we call “torufaowei’, and big fishes such as the “Ebah” or “governor” fish among others. We used to sell bush meat and catfish at Warri, Sapele and other towns which are no more.
Our environment contained a variety of huge economic trees including hard woods, abura, azonia, black and white Afara, cotton wood and mangrove forests from which we built our homes and carve canoes. All these have been destroyed and the fauna killed or driven away by years of dynamite used during seismic operations, oil spills, gas flaring at the Opuekeba Production Platform, dredging of Opuekeba Production Platform wells slots without dredging the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) main creek.
The consequence is the complete alteration of what used to be thick tropical forest, to open grassland for the entire area as you will find in savannah zones. What used to be thick tropical forest in Polobubo community has been altered to open grassland for miles around.
The pollution of the ecosystem by the recent fire incident at the Chevron Nigeria Limited Ojumole/Ikpalakpalabu crude oil well #1 that occurred on April 18, 2019 and ended on June 30, 2019 (which lasted for 73 days), are some of the acts of ecocide visited on Polobubo community by Chevron Nigeria Limited for the oil and gas resources in our land and waterways.
Till date, there has not been any remediation of the environment, payment of fair and adequate compensation in cash or projects to Polobubo community by Chevron Nigeria Limited.
We have not slept on our rights and will continue to agitate until remediation of the Polobubo (Tsekelewu) environment and fair and adequate compensation is paid to Polobubo community.
- The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) dredging through Polobubo community to Opuba crude oil production well #1 and #2, crude oil spills, gas flaring and pollution among others contributed to the deforestation, and pollution of the land and air in Polobubo Community.
- The Nigeria Petroleum Development Company and ElCrest Nigeria limited JV (NPDC/ElCrest) dredging of sections of the waterways to their crude oil wells made Polobubo/Tsekelewu section of the Oloduwa creek to dry up, incessant oil spills due to equipment failure and continuous gas flaring at Opuama Flowstation.
The continuous gas flaring at Opuama Flowstation, ongoing dredging and drilling operations without environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental remediation plan has negatively impacted Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community.
4) The Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited ongoing dredging and drilling operations without environment impact assessment (EIA) and agreed environmental remediation plan with Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community has over reaching negative impact on Polobubo community.
Cleaning, remediation and reparation of the environment should be executed for Polobubo community by the federal government of Nigeria, Delta State government, SPDC, Chevron Nigeria Limited, NPDC/ElCrest JV and Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited as stated in the 2022 Nigeria Petroleum Industry Act, section 101(2, 3) by 2023.
Land reclamation and shoreline protection projects should be executed for Polobubo community by the federal government of Nigeria, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Delta State government before 2024.
Canalization and dredging of Opuama-Tsekelewu Creeks by the federal government, Chevron Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV before 2024. Chevron Nigeria Limited should add the sweeping/dredging of Polobobu (Tsekelewu) creek to its three (3) years Opuekeba Production Platform well head slots sweeping/dredging programs and execute same in the next Well Heads Slot Sweeping/Dredging Campaign in 2023 and beyond.
Pay fair and adequate compensation due to siltation, seasonal flooding, salt water intrusion, loss of vegetation, loss of sources of livelihood, reduction in biodiversity, and outbreak of water borne/impounded diseases caused by devastation, pollution and destruction of our ecosystems by SPDC, Chevron Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV before 2024.
Execute sustainable development projects such as internal road networks, housing units, and electricity amongst others for Polobubo community by federal government, Delta State government, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Conoil Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV by 2023.
Special budgetary allocation should be made by the federal government, Delta state government and oil companies for environmental remediation and afforestation programs in Polobubo in 2023 and beyond.
The Federal Ministry of Environment and Delta State Ministry of Environment should make special visits and investigations to Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community to see things for themselves in 2023.
The immediate blockade of the Western Bypass Canal that linked Polobubo community to the Atlantic Ocean by Chevron Nigeria Limited and the federal ministry of works before December 2025.
Provision of portable drinking water and medical/health facilities & services by federal government, Chevron Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV, and Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited before December 2023.
In the interim, NPDC/ElCrest JV and Conoil should provide free routine medical outreach services to Polobubo communities before end of 2023. Long term solution is the provision of a standard health facility well equipped with staff for Polobubo (Tsekelewu).
Zero natural gas flare or vent into the Polobubo environment to prevent pollution and/or execute environmental remediation and relief to Polobubo community (as per the 2022 Nigeria Petroleum Industry Act, section 104 (4) by Chevron Nigeria Limited and NPDC/ElCrest JV, and Conoil Producing Nigeria Limited before December 2023.
Put in place a flora regeneration policy and fauna reproduction policy within one year (2023) by the federal government of Nigeria and Delta State government and the oil and gas companies operating in Tsekelewu communities.
Institute Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project that will collaborate with Niger Delta Development commission (NDDC), Delta state Government, Amnesty office of the Presidency and companies operating within the community to develop a robust empowerment programs for the youths and women in the community.
Dr. (Engr.) Bright Abulu, PhD
President-General, Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community Development Association
Revd. TD. Clement (JP), General Secretary, Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community Development Association
Mr. Christmas Ukugha- Public Relation Officer- Polobubo (Tsekelewu) Community Development Association
His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Minister of State Petroleum, Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Minister of Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Abuja
The Chairman, NASS Committee on the Environment.
The Chairman/MD – Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulation Commission (NUPRC)
Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa- The Executive Governor, Delta State, Asaba.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Environment, Delta State, Asaba.
The Chairman- Delta State House of Assembly, Committee on the Environment.
The Head, United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, Abuja.