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Nigeria: Frustrated residents petition law makers over the pollution of their underground water by oil company

‘Akoka residents petition National Assembly over water pollution by Total’ 11 August 2019

The residents of Akoka, a Lagos community, on Saturday presented a petition to the House of Representatives member representing Somolu Federal Constituency, Ademorin Kuye, over the pollution of their underground water by Total Nigeria Plc. The petition, jointly signed by the appointed representatives of the affected residents and delivered during a press conference, attributed the cause of the pollution to the leakage of the underground tank of a Total Filling Station situated along St. Finbarrs’ College Road in Akoka. ”Our plight was first brought to the attention of the Lagos State government in mid-2017. To date, approximately two years afterwards, it appears our plight is being treated with levity by both the federal and state levels,” the residents stated.

Most residents in the affected community have been sourcing water for domestic use from underground wells and boreholes sunk in their premises. However, around August 2017, some of them began to perceive the smell and taste of petrol from their tap water. Their findings showed that an underground tank from the nearby petrol station had leaked its contents into the soil, contaminating the water. The affected areas included St. Finbarrs’ College Road, Abdullahi Street, Aiyetoro Street, Oyenuga Street, Wulemotu Ajoke Street, Rickett’s Close, Shobande Street, and Sholanke Street. ”The said station is the only petrol dispensing facility situated in the vicinity of those among us who were and are still experiencing this unfortunate solution,” the petition stated. ”We reported our observations to the station manager, requesting that the station investigate its underground storage tanks for leakage. This report was made several times but, to no avail. They were ignored by the dealer and his staff.

“About that same period, the dealer of the Total Petrol Filling Station in question reported that he had lost an entire 33,000 litres tanker load of PMS overnight. He admitted as much at a meeting convened by the zonal operational controller, Department of Petroleum Resources, Lagos zonal operations in April 2018…”Furthermore, we are perplexed that it took LASEPA a whole year to release the supposed report bearing in mind the gravity of the known harmful medical effects likely from heavy exposure to PMS. The Environmental Forensic Audit was delivered to LASEPA in September 2018, but released about a week ago.” Rasheed Shabi, the LASEPA general manager, did not respond to requests for comments. The residents said they want to be compensated for all the expenses incurred as a consequence of the pollution, urgent medical evaluation for the affected persons, and avoidable medical expenses likely to to be expended in the future.