By Dirisu Yakubu with agency reports
Gbaramatu communities in Delta State, rattled by the August 25, 2017, gas explosion from Escravos-Warri gas pipeline, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigerian Gas Company, NGC – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC – to carry out an assessment of damages from the explosion in the communities, or faced a shutdown of all its operations in the area.
Ikpokpo, Okpele-Ama, Otogbene, Atanba and other Gbaramatu communities in Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state, want NGC, now known as Nigerian Gas Processing and Transportation Company, owners and managers of the facility to carry out assessment of the extent of damage to people and communities arising from the gas explosion, implement remedial steps and compensate the people and communities affected by the gas explosion.
The communities gave the ultimatum at the weekend after a meeting of the affected communities to review an alleged ongoing forceful repair of the damaged gas pipeline by the company without carrying out joint investigation visit to determine the cause of the explosion.
A statement personally signed by leaders of the communities, Mr. Godwin Akori and Mr. Edward Odudu, said appeals to the Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to intervene on the matter have proved abortive, hence the two weeks ultimatum.
“When the communities noticed the massive emission of gas from the Escravos to Warri gas pipeline at Ikpokpo community, Gbaramatu Kingdom on August 25, 2017, it promptly informed officials of the NGC office in Warri and the Warri Zonal office of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.
“However, NGC completely disregarded the NOSDRA directive and instead mobilize contractor to the site of the explosion with the aid of men of the Nigerian Army to forcefully carryout repair of the leaked gas pipeline without the addressing the grievances of the affected Gbaramatu communities.”