Access to Justice has filed a N3.215 billion suit against the Federal Government over alleged abandonment of victims of the October 12, 2018 pipeline explosion at Osisioma Ngwa Council of Abia State.
The rights group in a suit, HOS/88/2019, filed by Joseph Otteh and Daniel Aloaye on behalf of some of the affected families, before Abia State High Court, Ossisioma, joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).
It sued on behalf of Innocent Iheanacho, Esau Eze and Chuks Uzorije and the 77 others as claimants.In the motion on notice, the claimants stated that a System 2E petroleum pipeline belonging to the NNPC and managed by PPMC and exploded in Osisioma destroying several human/animal lives and properties in the community.
The inferno, they stated, caused devastated several residents of Umuaduru and Umuimo villages as well as residents of Uratta, Umuze and Njiko Umunna Autonomous Communities in Osisioma Ngwa.
“The oil companies, after the tragedy, treated the victims, many of whom suffered extreme, blistering burns and were at the risk of death, with cold-blooded indifference: the oil companies did not provide relief materials, did not offer life-saving or treatment, and did not extend any financial help or compensation to families who desperately needed assistance, neither did they offer the simplest forms of emotional comfort like visiting families affected by the tragedy,” the lamented.
They are paying for an order of special damages against the defendants, jointly and severally, in the sum of N15 million. Access to Justice said that on October 20, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, issued a statement claiming that suspected oil thieves likely caused the explosion.
“This claim was made well before the Federal Government or the NNPC had conducted a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into the cause, manner and circumstances of the incident as required under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international treaties to which Nigeria is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“Since that unfortunate incident, nothing further, as far as Access to Justice is aware, has been published concerning that tragic event, either by the NNPC, PPMC or the Federal Government.” According to group, the three parties have swept the matter under the rug, leaving thousands of people affected by the explosions, directly or indirectly, to bear alone the consequences of that calamity.