Baruwa community, a suburb in the outskirts of Lagos, has vowed to go to court and seek justice over what they described as criminal negligence by the federal government and its agencies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), its marketing arm, the Pipeline and Petroleum Marketing Company (PPMC) and the industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The community has declared its intention to prosecute the agencies after efforts to explore dialogue and other peaceful initiatives failed to compel the government and these agents to clean up their environment contaminated by underground pipeline leakage.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, the Baale of Baruwa, Alhaji Halid Baruwa, said the NNPC has neglected them over the years and that the leakage from their aged, rusted petroleum pipeline has completely contaminated their source of water supply.
“This issue is over 20 years and has been in the news. The pipes were laid in 1979 and because they have been laden with oil over the years, there are leakages and the products now have contaminated our water supply,” the traditional ruler said.
He said the NNPC had visited the area in the past and promised to assist us but nothing has happened.
“Every resident of this community buy water to drink, cook and do other domestic work. Those who build houses for rent cannot find tenants as absence of water has isolated the community.
“I am a retired civil servant and I used my gratuity to sink a well for water supply, began to rear livestock and established a garden but unknown to me, the underground water contained high level of lead and it killed my animals and dried up my flowers.” Baruwa lamented.
He also reported that residents are suffering from various ailments including skin rashes while pregnant women are now endangered.
“When the case was initially reported, the NNPC claimed the facilities were vandalised but I can tell you there has not been such case in the last seven years.It happened a long time ago and the operation cannot be done by locals or anyone without knowledge of the system.
“They came with heavy arms and even the police could not engage them but after that nothing else has happened because the situation was later contained to avoid product leakages,” the Baale said.
He, however, admitted that the NNPC sunk three boreholes after they realised that their complaints were genuine but that the project, which they executed between 1999 and 2001, never supplied a single drop of water.
Source : Leadership