Twenty-one communities affected by the Ojumole Oil Well fire incident in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State, on Tuesday demanded for 2.5 billion dollars as compensation from the Chevron Nigeria Limited.

Dr Akin Akinruntan, made the demand on behalf of the affected communities at a public hearing of major stakeholders conducted by the State House of Assembly in Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fire broke out in the Oil Well on April 18 and was still raging up till this moment.

Akinruntan said Chevron should pay the compensation to the affected 21 communities within the eight kilometres radius (due to low and high tide) to the tune and not less than 2.5 billion dollars.

He said Chevron management should also inform leadership of the affected communities on the method it had put in place to quench the raging fire.

According to him, this is to avoid the use of dangerous chemicals which will further put the lives of people in the community to jeopardy and this should be done immediately.

He told the oil company that the affected environment should be cleaned up and cooled without delay.

Akinruntan said that medical examination should be carried out on the people exposed to the fire within the eight kilometres radius, while those with signs and symptoms should be treated immediately.

The communities’ spokesperson urged Chevron to disclose the barrel of crude oil it produced per day from the Ojumole Oil Well.

He also advised the Ondo State Government to come to the
aid of people by critically studying the amnesty international reports of June 2009.

Also, Chairman of the House Committee, Abayomi Akinruntan, representing Ilaje Constituency 1, said that the ecological prospects of people in the areas had been destroyed.

Akinruntan decried how the fire incident had destroyed major fishing occupation in the affected communities, saying nobody could go on fishing again.

The lawmaker said that Chevron should properly address the oil field as “Ojumole Oil Field, Ugbo Kingdom, Ilaje Local Government area.

According to him, Chevron should no longer link it with Delta by any guise to forestall the breakdown of law and order between the two states.

In his remarks, Esimaje Brikinn, the General Manager of Chevron, expressed the company’s displeasure over the fire incident.

Brikinn said the company was on top of the situation to put off the fire any moment from now.

He said the fire incident occurred as a result of vandalism and theft at the oil well, in spite of the security put in place by the company to safe guide the Oil Well in Ojumole.

Brikinn also said that people’s interference with the company’s property in the host communities in the whole of Niger Delta area was of serious concern to the company.

He urged the host communities to be patient with the company, saying that necessary equipment were already being mobilised by fire experts from the U.S to put off the fire.

The general manager further said that Chevron, as one of the leading producers of oil in the country, “is a law abiding company”.

He said that it has been doing its business legitimately and with prompt payment of taxes to various appropriate quarters.

Brikinn promised that the company would continue to work with the host communities and brings necessary amenities to them.

Commenting, the Speaker, Bamidele Oleyelogun, charged Chevron to do everything possible to quench the fire, which he said had affected the socioeconomic activities of people living in the areas.

Oleyelogun said the House Committee would visit scene of the fire later this week for proper discussion and way forward in the subsequent meeting.

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