29 March 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI— FIVE persons, including a mother of six, from seven riverine communities of Delta State, have been hospitalised after drinking suspected contaminated water from a river, allegedly polluted by Agip Oil Company in the course of dredging activities in the communities.
A representative of the communities, Mallam Yusuf Eregebene, who confirmed the hospitalisation of the five persons, listed the affected communities as Opuapale I, Opuapale II, Ogorigbene, Perekiri Zion, Telemotu, Ebimiekumoghene and Asisagbene.
A member of Opuapale I community, Mr Kingsley Ogu said medical report of the victims confirmed that the sickness was caused by the pollution of the river, which is the only source of water supply to the communities.
A leader in Ogorigbene community, Chief Isaac Ogboye , lamented that Agip had paid deaf ear to their concerns since the dredging activities for access to the canal in Grangbene Deep A and B Oil and Gas well locations stated.
Their representative, Mallam Eregbene, said besides polluting their water, the dredging by Agip had affected the fishing occupation of the people and the company had not bothered to come to their aid, while hunger was the order of the day in the communities.
He said the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, had directed the Ministry of Oil and Gas in the state to intervene in the matter and when a meeting was called, last year, Agip officials promised to alleviate the sufferings of the people, adding, “up till now, we are still waiting for them to fulfill their promise.”
When contacted, Community Relations Manager with the company, Mr. Albert Ijuwe said, “If you are really a reporter with Vanguard, you should know Agip Office, I have no information to give you.”