More than 150 riverine dwellers have reportedly lost their lives and about 5,000 presently sick in Delta and Bayelsa states due to alleged destructive chemical dispersant used to clean the controversial December 20, 2011 crude spill from the Bonga Oil Field, belonging to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNPECo.
Speaking to Vanguard at the weekend, Chairman/Coordinator of Named Itsekiri/Ijaw Communities in Warri North, Warri South-West, Burutu and Ekeremor Local Government Areas in Delta and Bayelsa states, Mr. Francis Monday, said “The after effects of the deadly pollutants that were used to disperse the spill are now telling on the people and the situation is quite disturbing, as many are dying in strange circumstances.
“Over 150 persons have died and over 5,000 persons are now sick, while over 1,000 have been treated for various illnesses in hospitals in the communities in Delta and Bayelsa states affected by the SNEPCo crude oil spillage of December 20.”
The deceased persons, according to Monday, include Gowon Pessu, male, who died stooling blood in Ugbege community; Beatrice Amorighoye, female, in Ogidigben, died of stomach pain and other scientific findings at St. Luis Hospital, Warri and Thompson Mene, male in Elolo, near Ogidigben, who had a brief stroke and died while complaining of stomach pain in the village.
“Others are Tosan Nene, male, in Ugborodo, who died at Warri General Hospital, complaining of severe headache and other scientific findings; and Friday Ofoayon, male, from Ugborodo, died at Benin Specialist Hospital and he complained of general body pains, but scientific findings showed many things, including kidney/liver problems.”
According to Monday, the state government was already aware of the disaster, with representative of the Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Julie Young, having donated relief materials to the impacted communities, where people are still dying.
In response to the request by the communities for relief materials, Delta State Emergency Management Agency, last week, donated 40 bags of rice, 33 bags of garri, 200 cartons of noodles, 30 cartons of milk, 20 cartons of sachet powder milk, 20 cartons of sugar, 20 cartons of tomato puree, 10 bags of salt, 100 pieces of blankets, mosquito nets, mattresses, buckets and sleeping mats, to communities through their representatives.