Liquefied Natural Gas Suffocates Man to Death
Tragedy struck in Ejamah Ebubu in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State of Nigeria when a young man was suffocated to death while digging a Suck Away pit.
We gathered that the victim, Mr. Emmanuel Okulu and a colleague were hired to dig the suck away pit.
Investigations revealed that Okulu, an unemployed 30 years old man was inside the pit digging while his other colleague was outside the pit drawing out the bucket of sand when he noticed that the victim could no longer talk or move.
Eye witness said when his colleague went into the pit with the aim of rescuing him; they were both trapped by the gas.
A rescuer who arrived few minutes later found Okulu and his colleague unconscious. His body, it was learnt, was seriously drenched in liquefied natural gas. He died on the spot while his colleague was rushed to the hospital.
In January this year at Okpako Ejamah Ebubu, a woman was reported to have died after inhaling fumes from toxic materials dumped in the area.
Our investigation revealed that a deadly chemical container was said to have busted open and leaked into the atmosphere, affecting the respiratory system of many of the inhabitants of the area.
A Senior Minister of the Assemblies of God Church in the area, Reverend Eugene Osarobele decried the state of the environment of area. He pointed out that companies operating in Eleme and its environs use the place as a junkyard for various forms of toxic waste and other dangerous materials without recourse to environmental consequences of their actions.
“My concern is how these businessmen that are inhuman can be controlled?”, he said.
“Last year they dumped something which exploded and fire engulfed the whole place. People were burnt alive, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed, yet nothing was done about it.
“This year again, the same business people have come to dump chemicals and those mostly affected are pregnant women and children.”
Speaking to reporters in his palace the Paramount Ruler of Ejamah Clan, Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara lamented the death of Emmanuel Okulu and called on Shell Petroleum Development Company to accept responsibility for his dead.
A reliable palace source revealed that about two months ago, there was a crude oil leakage from the ground which was not far from where the pit was being dug which lead to the dead of Okulu. SPDC visited the scene with their experts and armed soldiers. Indigenes and residents of the area were prevented from witnessing what they were doing. We believe that the chemicals spread around the area might have caused the death.
Expressing shock at the untimely death of Emmanuel Okulu his elder brother, John Okulu described the deceased as a cool and easy going person who would not look for people’s trouble. He wondered why SPDC should know what kills his brother and they are being harassed with police and other security agents. “They (SPDC) came here with their police and staff saying they want to carryout autopsy examination on our brother. We have no answer to give to them, so we kept quiet. Autopsy on someone who died from liquefied natural gas’ suffocation after two weeks in the morgue?” he lamented.
“Why is SPDC interested in trying to evade responsibility if they don’t know what killed my brother?” he queried.
The level of pollution in the area is alarming. Right in the community, close to the steam that used to be the people’s only source of drinking water is a signpost erected by SPDC with the inscription, “WARNING! DO NOT DRINK, FISH OR SWIM HERE”. The questions on my lips are:
Having polluted the area to the point of warning the people to stay away from Wamba Stream because it is not safe for human consumption, the fishes in it are contaminated and swimming in it is dangerous, what alternative arrangements has SPDC made to take care of these needs of the people? SPDC provided water for communities in Nchia, a distance of more than three kilometers from Ebubu and is busy blowing trumpets announcing provision of safe water for Eleme. What a shame? From where do SPDC want the people of Ebubu to source for fishes, good suppliers of protein, despite visible poverty in the area perpetrated by SPDC donkey years of oil and gas exploration and production activities in the area? Why did SPDC choose to kill the people’s recreational life by polluting their water and not provide them alternative swimming facilities?