The Ondo State Government on Monday read the riot act to the Chevron Nigeria Limited, charging it to priortise safety of lives and properties of its citizens, in its legitimate pursuit of profits.
The State Government made the charge, following a Thursday fire outbreak at Oju Imole Oil Field in Ilaje Local Government area, and Government’s belief that the fire could have been prevented or had not been decisively fought.
Receiving the Chevron delegation in his office in Akure, the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi also called on the company to deplore all necessary resources to ensure the fire was put out on time and forestall recurrence of such incidence.
Ajayi said the company must act fast to ensure that the community was safe again for the residents as ”they do not have any other home.”
He insisted that the oil deposit in their community should be a source of blessing to them rather than a source of worry, stressing the importance of the oil producing areas to the economy of the state.
The leader of the Chevron delegation, Mr Brikinns Esimaje, said the company was doing everything possible to put out the fire as well as address both the immediate and remote causes of the inferno.
Esimaje said the visit would allow them to work with government in the interest of the host community’s safety.
”The reason for coming here is to really have a face to face discussion with government and to update government on the incidence,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan, said the news of the inferno at Oju Imole Oil Field broke out during Easter holidays and government had been working hard to ensure the safety of residents.
Esan said the meeting with Chevron would allow government to iron out certain issues on safe operation of the company in the state.