Olotu, an Environmental Hero, is Dead

Francis Freedom

The owner of Oya Lake whose case SACA first handled on arrival in Bayelsa State and which has attracted global attentions, Francis Freedom, aka, Olotu, is dead. Francis was a young fisherman and student. Francis' Oya Lake was heavily polluted by oil spills from Shell's facility which occurred in 2018 in the nearby Oburon Lake and flowed downstream to his own lake, and was not contained or cleaned up for 4 years. All efforts made by Francis to get the company to cleanup the spill failed until he brought it to SACA's attention. SACA engaged the company's shareholders in the UK and got the company to carry out a cleanup in June 2013.

However, the cleanup was shoddily done and, till date, the lake is still very much polluted.

Furthermore, following several sample collections and tests, experts have repeatedly concluded that the lake is still polluted with heavy metals, and SACA and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) have been pressing the company to return and clean up the lake to standard.

Meanwhile, Francis, having no other source of income, has still been living and fishing around the lake. In February, 2020, he died after a health complication at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri. His young daughter had died 2 years ago from pregnancy complications in the same hospital. SACA mourns Francis and prays for his happy repose.

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