Nigerian communities threaten to block crude pipeline due to oil spill

October 30, 2016 6:51 PM EDT

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By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu

ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian communities affected by an oil spill in the Niger Delta hub have threatened to block access to a pipeline unless state oil producer NNPC provides a cleanup and compensation within one week, a statement said.

Spills from blown-up or faulty pipelines have triggered an insurgency in the Delta, where militants fight for a greater share of oil revenues and a cleaner environment.

A pipeline operated by NNPC that runs from Escravos to the Warri refinery has been leaking crude since it broke on Aug. 17 in Delta state, a group of communities said in a statement received on Sunday.

Traditional rulers of the so-called Gbaramatu Kingdom said they gave NNPC seven days to "clean up the impacted communities, provide relief materials and pay adequate and fair compensation to the communities and people."

If the demands are not met in seven days, the rulers' statement said, "we would have no other option than to shut down the Escravos to Warri trunk line."

The communities accused NNPC of failing to repair the pipeline despite repeated warnings of a massive spill.

NNPC had no immediate comment.

Nigeria's oil production has fallen by 1.8 million barrels per day from 2.2 million bpd at the start of the year due to attacks by militants, the oil minister said last week.

President Muhammadu Buhari is due to meet Niger Delta leaders and representatives of militant groups this week in Abuja.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)



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