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OIL DEGRADATION/POLLUTION OF NIGER-DELTA CREEKS/LANDS: A SHARED BLAME 

-By Zik Gbemre  

OIL DEGRADATION/POLLUTION OF NIGER-DELTA CREEKS/LANDS: A SHARED BLAME 

  • Most pipeline vandalism in recent times are third party induced for various unlawful gains 
  • The increasing crime now a shared evil involving host communities, service contractors and some oil companies workers. 
  • The polluted communities endangering lives and livelihoods of generations unborn 

It is very uncommon to experience crude oil/condensate spillages caused by equipment failure on the vast pipelines constructed by the Federal Government of Nigeria through supervisory NNPC/NPDC and operating oil partners to transport crude oil and associated product across the operating environment.

But no doubt, a significant proportion of crude oil/condensate spills that have become almost a daily experience, threatening health and livelihoods, in massive pollution, particularly across the Niger-Delta states are third party induced for various unlawful self-enrichment.

Between host communities collaborators and industry experts, including some oil company staffs and contractors, a culture has been established of the shared evil of breaking pipes, causing avoidable destruction to the environment, under motives determined by the interest of the perpetrators.

Today, it is petty, so parochial to think that only crude oil/condensate thieves burst pipes to look for free crude oil/condensate to sell to artisanal (illegal) refineries in the lands or deep in the creeks to illegal foreign buyers in exchange for Euro-dollars.

It is already open secret that some greedy desperado contractors engaged by oil companies, pay community collaborators to break pipes or ruin other vital oil assets in the hope of getting plum repairs contract and those for often shoddy, deceitful remediation of the environment as a result of associated spill.

The contractors, when contracted to weld/clamp pipes or to do clean-ups and remediation contracts do employ community locals in a revolving chain of money-making rewarding of both contractors and some host community helping hands through their community executives/leaders while the prolong consequence on the environment affects the entire community through generations.

Under more enclosed motives, community interest groups burst pipes to cause oil/condensate spills with intent to gain attention for relief materials and compensation, or at others times, just to draw attention of government to perceive development neglect in the atmosphere of pollution to their lands and rivers by oil companies activities.

In other instances, some oil companies workers frequently aid and abet spills because the more oil/condensate spills discovered, the more contracts to award to their fronts and the more returns available to share from awarded contracts. These are some of the key challenges.

Precisely on 31st July 2021, an NGO representative approached me in my Iwhrekan community house in Ughelli South LGA of Delta State and said he was on fact-finding mission to know the cause of oil/condensate spills in Ughelli South locality in Delta state.

My response was that most of the oil/condensate spills have involvement of community stakeholders. I also told him how such self-destructive disposition is without regards to how the Federal Government of Nigeria through NNPC/NPDC and JV partners support host communities development with social investments projects worth over N850Million within four years to just one major oil-producing community through GMoU/PGMoU.

The GMoU/PGMoU funds are being mismanaged by the host communities executives/leaders with the collaboration within the oil company representatives. With impunity, community projects are self-awarded at outrageously inflated cost by GMoU implementors using familiar front contractors.

These PGMoU/GMoU projects, it must be emphasized, are being funded by the Federal Government through NNPC/NPDC and JV partners. This is aside Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, NDDC and13% Derivation development funds accrued to the Niger-Delta.

The folly in all of the culture of breaking pipes is not only of the perpetrators destroying their own environment for personal gains. They’re actually destroying the future and endangering lives of their generations unborn.

Zik Gbemre. 

August 2, 2021 

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