Nobody is selling spilled petrol in Abule Egba, resident insists
In a reaction to last Friday’s report entitled: ‘Abule Egba in danger : Residents live on petrol-contaminated water’, Mr. Babatunde Oluwole, resident of the area, has denied claims made by community leaders that he was in the act of selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) seeped from the petrol-contaminated water in the neighbourhood.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Oluwole said he is a victim of oil spillage in the area, as he has since been denied his means of livelihood since July 2013.
“I am a water vendor and I sell potable water to the community with the three overhead tanks I installed in my premises. Sometime in July 2013, my pumping machine got spoilt and the plumber I called to repair it drew my attention to the fact that it was petrol that damaged it in a well of over 120 feet, which had been dug nearly 40 years ago.
“I made a complaint to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Lagos command on August 31, 2013 to inform them of petrol spillage in the area and to avert the disaster of December 26, 2006 that killed over 700 people in Abule Egba.
“They came and disconnected all the pipes, while a ‘Restricted Area’ was pasted on the premises. We also notified the Mosimi depot of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), who came for inspection of the whole area.”
According to him, a lot of buildings are affected in the area, but landlords lacked the courage to make a formal complaint for fear of being dispossessed of their property. “We are over 100m away from the NNPC pipeline when the Right of Way (RoW) stipulates a 30m gap. So, we could not have vandalised the pipelines.
“It was after my persistent efforts that the NOSDRA team came and evacuate oil from our wells in 2014. They mopped up the oil from the water surface but the problem still persist. We still have contaminated water in the whole of Abule Egba.
“They discovered that the pipe got rusted and burst at several spots, which has polluted the whole underground water in the area. Nothing has been done since then, except for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached between me and the PPMC to construct a borehole for me, which will not solve the problem of contaminated water in the area,” he said.