Ben Dunno, Warri
The management of Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) has commenced repair works on the gas pipeline that exploded last week at Ugbokodo Community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
An indigenous company, NANPIST Venture, was seen on Tuesday morning, at the scene of the gas explosion mobilising equipment and clearing the surrounding bushes within the vicinity in order to have an unhindered access to the damaged points.
Speaking with our correspondent who visited the area, on Tuesday, an official of NANPIST, Mr. Kingsley Onaipia, noted that the company was mobilized to site by NGC, adding that the evacuation was being carried out to enable NGC Management ascertain the level of damage before real work will commence.”
But in a swift reaction, the Ugbokodo-Okpe Community, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the management of NGC for embarking on such an exercise without an input from indigenes of the community on how their interests could be accommodated.
While welcoming the idea to immediately commence the clean-up of the area, the community noted that it was unfair for NGC to have started the process without recourse to the contribution that could be made by its indigenes.
Spokesman of the Ugbokodo-Okpe community, Mr. Tobore Ajisha, in a chat with newsmen, stated that the gas pipeline explosion caused serious damage in the community, stressing that the people were still in shock as a result of the panic caused by the ugly incident.
Ajisha who emphasised that no life was lost in the incident that forced many to scamper for safety in such an odd hour, noted that their major concern was for the gas pipeline to be fixed with appropriate compensation paid to his community.
According to him, “The extent of damage was much. You saw the extent of the flame of the fire inside the creek, both the angroves and other things were damaged. Both nets, fishing boats, were consumed by the fire.”
“NGC has come to see us. They promised to come back after they have ascertained the extent of the damage. But we are not satisfied with the step they have taken so far. We are not happy because they didn’t tell us before they mobilised to site.”
While assuring the management of NGC of their readiness to dialogue towards amicable settlement and compensation, Mr. Ajisha disclosed that as a peace loving community they will provide the convivial atmosphere for peaceful negotiation.
They advised NGC no to be cajoled by other communities who may approach them for compensation and settlement, stressing that the exploded pipeline is located on Ugbokodo Community land hence should disregard any other community making advances.
Also, Ajisha has called on NGC to take immediate step to fix another damaged gas pipeline located about 200 meters away from residential area in Ugbokodo Okpe Community, saying that it is a keg of gun powder waiting.
He noted the pipeline is very close to the surface and recommended that it should be further submerged. He stated that his people may not be lucky as they with the January 11 explosion if this identified danger is not addressed.