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Pipeline explosion destroys farmland in Rivers community

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Destroyed Farmland

Peter Henry Dee

The people of Umu-Okpoko family and the entire Obagi Community in the Egi axis of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State are now counting their losses, following an explosion that rocked an expanse of farmland from a facility of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC.

Our correspondent who visited the scene of the incident reports that though, the inferno has been put off; the explosion resulted in the burning of economic crops and trees.

A farmer, who said she was an eye witness attributed Agip’s negligence to the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Obagi Community Development Committee, Ngozi Paul Aaron in an interview with our correspondent, expressed visible anger with the Oil Multinational for carrying out remedial work on the pipeline without the knowledge of the Obagi Community.

‘Yesterday, they told me they are going to put out the light that we should allow them that today we would have a meeting at the Local Government and they will invite the Local Government Chairman Vincent Job. And he invited us today to have a meeting without knowing that they have gone behind me to do the job. When I noticed that Agip had gone behind me to do the job, I was very angry and I could not take it likely with Agip’ he said.

The Chairman of the Obagi Community Development Committee, Ngozi Paul Aaron also accused Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC of double standards for not honouring an agreement in favour of his community and vowed to resist the antics of the multinational.

‘They we agreed that we are going to negotiate for damages for our crops and farmlands and other things. We have never negotiated with them, when I went for the meeting they told me that Agip had no chance to come to discuss with us today and that the meeting would be on Monday. If it is to bring the facility to repair the line, surprisingly they now call me that Agip has come to do the job, so I am trying to call my Local Government Chairman to verify if he is aware of the latest development, so I am not happy and I will take action as the CDC Chairman’ he said.

On his part, one of the Landlords, who is the Public Relations Officer of Obagi CDC, Chikwe Brown said the Umu-Okpoko family would engage Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC to ensure that justice is done over the development

In the meantime, an Environmental Manager, who spoke to our correspondent at the scene of the incident, Victor Nwokokara decried the extent of the devastation of the farmland.

Victor Nwokokara, a member of the Environmental Society of Nigeria, called on Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC to strictly adhere to the international best practices in their operations and relationships with their host communities

Meanwhile, the authorities of Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Council are yet to make a public statement on the development.

 

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