Refusal To Comply With Consent Judgment Of December 2021

Lawyer Slams N1 Billion Suit On Nigeria Gas Company Over Hazardous Gas Valve Plant Operations

Lawyer Slams N1 Billion Suit On Nigeria Gas Company

OpenLife Nigeria reports that a legal practitioner, Barrister Oluwole Kehinde who resides at Ibafo area of Ogun State, has slammed N1billion suit on Nigeria Gas Company Limited over alleged hazardous gas valve plant operations of the company in residential area.

In a statement of claim accompanied by written statement on oath sworn to by the plaintiff and filed before a Federal High Court in Ogun state by Mr.Oluwole Kehinde himself, he avers that sometime in October, 2015, some agents and or officers of the Nigeria Gas Company Limited, caused a huge pipe to be laid on the surface of the soil and across the road leading to his residence, thereby causing nuisance and obstructing access to his premises.

Such acts of nuisance prevented and obstructed access to his residence, as a result, himself and other members of his family including his wife and little children. had to either climb the huge pipe or go a far distant place to either exit or enter the access road to his premises at a great pain and inconveniences.

By the actions of the officers and or agents of the Nigeria Gas Company Limited he was forced to be parking his cars by the side of the main road,members of his family went through a great deal of inconvenience and pain having to park, load and unloaded goods and personal effects from and into the house and the vehicles from far distance.

The Nigeria Gas Company Limited posted some notices on the premises around the entrance to his residence, confirming its activities relating to the laying of the pipes.

The Plaintiff avers that consequently, he wrote a letter dated 19th October 2015 to the Nigeria Gas Company Limited demanding an immediate abatement of the aforementioned nuisance caused by the officers and or agents of the Company, and for payment of compensation to the Plaintiff,until date, the Company has not replied to the said letter,nor offer any compensation to him.

Sometime in 2022, Nigeria Gas Company commenced construction and installation off steel structures,machineries tanks ,offices on a large expand of land near his residence

Consequently,the Plaintiff’s community leaders caused a letter to be written to the Company requesting information about the Company’s business’ focus and Environmental Impact Assessment thereof for the review and guidance of members of the said community.

The Company however,failed to respond to the request of the community leaders,but continued to carry on its construction activities.

The Plaintiff asserts that his family and other members of the community had been living around the environment not less than 10 years before the defendant started the construction of their site in the area.
The entire community is strictly a residential area long before the advent of the defendant and has remained so until now.

The defendant has remained defiant, adamant, irresponsive and irresponsible to the requests and enquries of members of the plaintiff’s community about the defendant’s business’s focus and concern.

Subsequently,around the beginning of November 2023, the defendant commenced gas-related operations at the site which has resulted in persistent humming, loud noises,intense vibrations, and various disturbances emanating from the site.

The disruptions have deeply affected the entire vicinity surrounding the defendant’s site,causing chronic irritation, physical pain, heightened anxiety, considerable discomfort,sleep disturbances, and a range of related hardships among the residents in the area.

The operations of the defendant’s business have been observed to actively contribute to severe environmental pollution, presenting health hazards and substantial environmental degradation in the surrounding area.

Continuous emissions from these operations have led to the contamination of air, soil, and water sources,posing an imminent threat of a disastrous environmental situation.

This ongoing pollution has shown a direct correlation with increased health risks among the community members, including respiratory illnesses,skin conditions,and potential long-term health complications.

Additionally,the environmental degradation caused by these operations has the potential to escalate into a significant and widespread disaster if immediate and stringent measures are not implemented to curtail the adverse impacts.

The nuisance proceeding from the defendant’s operations is endless, reckless, pervasive,pervading, irritating, and worrisome to the Plaintiff and members of the community.

The plaintiff avers that the defendant’s use of the land vis-à-vis the gas station is unusual and gas is toxicant and dangerous to human health.

It causes skin diseases, cancer, damage to lungs and reproductive systems and so on.

It also leads to major social and psychological impact like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
An NGC valve station, associated with the defendant, refers to a facility or location within the natural gas pipeline network where valves are installed and managed for the control and regulation of gas flow.

Valve stations can present negative implications or challenges when not properly managed or in case of malfunctions,such as:
i. Gas Leaks: Malfunctioning valves can lead to gas leaks within the pipeline.Natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane, is highly flammable and poses an explosion risk if leaked into the atmosphere and exposed to an ignition source.

ii. Explosion and Fire Hazard: Accumulation of leaked gas in confined spaces can create explosive conditions. If ignited, it can result in fires or explosions, causing significant damage to infrastructure,nearby properties, and posing risks to human lives.

iii. Health Risks: Inhalation of natural gas can lead to health issues. Exposure to high concentrations of methane can cause headaches,nausea, dizziness,and in extreme cases,asphyxiation due to oxygen displacement in confined spaces.

iv. Environmental Impact: Gas leaks contribute to air pollution and can harm local ecosystems. Methane, when released into the atmosphere, is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Contamination of soil and water sources can also occur from leaked gas.

V. Pipeline Ruptures: Valve malfunctions might compromise the pipeline’s structural integrity,leading to ruptures or failures. Such incidents can cause extensive damage to surrounding properties, threaten residents’ safety and result in environmental contamination.

vi. Evacuation and Emergency Response: In case of severe leaks or safety hazards,residents might need to evacuate the area swiftly. Emergency response to such incidents requires coordination and quick action to ensure residents’ safety.

vii. Psychological Impact: The awareness of living near potentially hazardous infrastructure like valve stations can cause stress and anxiety among residents,impacting their mental well-being and sense of security.

viii. Accidents during Maintenance:Maintenance or repair activities on valve stations pose risks to workers and nearby residents. Accidents during these activities can lead to injuries or property damage.

The plaintiff also avers that Natural gas is bad for human health for the following reasons:

1 Gas is polluting fossil fuel which emits greenhouse gasses when it’s produce and used.

2.Fossil gas is mostly made up of a greenhouse gas called methane which is more potent than carbon dioxide and is responsible for about 30 per cent of the rise in global temperatures.

Methane leaks when gas is extracted, produced and transported,adding to the warming of the planet. Methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first 20-year period so its shorter-term climate in pacts are immense.

Most fossil gas is extracted through fracking which results in large amounts of toxic wastewater and can impact local drinking water.

The pollution from fracking can also cause health problems in neighbouring communities,possible health impact can include defects,asthma, and cancer.

Being close to fracking operations,rural and Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by the release of toxic chemicals. The increase in fracking operations are contributing to the spike in methane emissions which are quickly warming the planet.

vi Gas plants emit nitrogen oxides which increase smog and can cause respiratory problems for people living nearby Gas plants are often the top emitters of nitrogen oxides in communities.

The Plaintiff shall at the trial rely on Environmental Defence in support of the foregoing averments:

The natural gas operations carried out by the defendant have led to the contamination and impairment of the environment surrounding the Plaintiff’s residence at Ago Igbala Area,Ibafo, Ogun state.The contamination is evident through various means, including but not limited to soil,air,and potentially water sources within the vicinity.

Moreover emissions into the air caused by these operations have led to a deterioration of air quality, posing health risks to residents.

Furthermore, there are concerns regarding potential contamination of nearby water sources.

The cumulative effect of these contaminations has significantly impacted the environmental integrity of the area surrounding the plaintiff’s residence. warranting immediate remediation and restoration efforts.

Most recently, the security men at the defendant’s factory visited houses around the said factory to warn people against risk of fire around the factory, whereas no previous engagements with the residents were undertaken by the defendant or their staff before commencement of their operation.

Unfortunately, the plaintiff and other residents do not know the extent of the risk posed by the defendant’s operations and the appropriate measures required for them to take at either generally or at any time in particular.

The plaintiff avers that the defendant has refused to accede to the plaintiff’s demands,and that the Plaintiff has no other option than to take legal action to enforce his rights against the defendant.

The plaintiff shall at the trial rely on expert reports, opinions, data, publications, and other relevant materials to establish his case against the Defendant in this suit.

Consequently, the plaintiff claims are as follows:

A. Immediate relocation of the defendant’s gas valve plant away from the plaintiff’s environment where it is presently located to a completely non-residential area at the cost of the Defendant.

B. Reinstatement, restoration and remediation of the. impaired and/or contaminated environment of the Plaintiff’s residence , which environment was contaminated by the natural gas operations of the defendant complained of by the Plaintiff.

C. Provision of adequate safety facilities to preserve the Plaintiff’s residence and properties from damage in the event of any accident from the defendant’s gas station.

D. Provision of medical facilities for evaluation and treatment of any after negative health effect of the gas operations of the defendant and/or in the plaintiff’s community.

E. The sum of I, 000, 000, 000 (One Billion Naira Only) being compensation for the nuisance arising from the operations of the defendant’s valve gas station which is negatively affecting the plaintiff, his family members, and property in the environment and community where the said defendant’s valve gas station is located.

Injunction against the defendant, its agents, servants, officers, or whosoever, from further carrying on its gas operations in the community or environment where the plaintiff lives and his property situate until and unless the defendant fulfills all the safety, health, remedial and financial claims of the plaintiff.

 

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