Monday, August 12, 2019 9:12 am
By Daniels Ekugo
Akoka residents have raised the alarm over oil spillage by the Total petroleum station in the area, which has posed great health hazards for residents.
They called on the government both at the state and federal levels to come to their rescue over what they described as a “time bomb waiting to explode.”
Besides, the residents have petitioned the National Assembly, complaining against Total Nigeria PLC and Alhaji Aleem Maruf, dealer /franchise of the Total filling station that did the damage.
The residents, under the aegis of “Total, must do right” insisted that there must be “Justice for Akoka spill victims now”, expressing fear that their legitimate demands at ensuring justice resulted in politicization, intimidation, and threat to their lives despite the health danger they are incurring.
During a press briefing in Lagos, the residents expressed worry that some of their members were dying “from the contaminated water and pollution resulting from the leakage of premium motor spirit (PMS)/petrol from the underground storage tanks (UST) at Total Fuel Station at St Finbarrs College road, Akoka Lagos”.
They disclosed that the incident started towards the end of August 2017 when they delivered a letter dated August 30, 2017 to Total Nigeria Plc, informing it of the pollution and seeking redress of the situation but nothing concrete and permanent has been done rather than a fire brigade approach that has achieved almost nothing given the magnitude of the disaster on the ground.
The residents said that they would pursue the case until they get justice, insisting that “They think we do not know our right. We intend to take it beyond where they expect if they continue in this lackadaisical manner. Total must be made to pay for all this, they can’t run away from it. They have employed a system of divide and conquer but they will be shocked where we will take them to get justice and nothing will stop us from getting justice. There must be an immediate medical examination of affected residents.”
In a petition, they routed to the National Assembly, through their Shomolu federal constituency representative, Hon. Ademorin Kuye, Vice Chairman, Rules and Business, signed by 12 appointed representatives of the affected residents, the group urged the legislators to intervene with immediate effect as they claimed that they were being suppressed by relevant authorities within the state.
Expressing their frustration on the treatment they have received so far, the residents noted, “this seeming conspiracy is incomprehensible to us. At this juncture, particularly judging by the mode of investigations and the uncommitted responses from the regulatory bodies we have met with, we dare say that they come across as either compromised, inept or unwilling to protect the ordinary citizens of our community”.
Some of their demands included clean water for residents, adequate compensation for all expenses incurred as a consequence of the pollution, urgent medical evaluation for all affected residents as well as for other citizens affected and compensation for the avoidable medical expenses likely to expend in the future as a consequence of the current poisoning among others.
Environmental activist, Newton Jibunoh, Hon Ademorin Kuye, Achike Chuude of Joint Action Front, Mrs Eniola of Niola Cancer Care Foundation, Prof Francis Duru, Oluwafemi Akinbode of Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Jakpor Philip among others were at the occasion.