BREAKING NEWS: Stop gas flaring, restore our environment to original state – N/Delta communities to Shell, Mobil

Stop gas flaring, restore our environment to original state – N/Delta communities to Shell, Mobil

Stop gas flaring, restore our environment to original state – N/Delta communities to Shell, Mobil

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Following the persistent oil spills and gas flares in the Niger Delta region occasioned by the extractive activities of multinational oil companies; the people of Eteo Community in the Eleme local government area of Rivers State and the Okoro-Utip Community in Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State have called on the multinational oil giants to end the pollution.

The communities are also demanding that the impact of exploration on their environment be remediated to ensure it returns to its original state.

This was part of the resolutions the two communities reached at the end of the Farmers Community Town Hall meeting on “Land Right and Fight Against Land Grabbing” organized by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, held at Okoro-Utip community hall, Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State

Chief Enyina Wilson, Secretary of Okoro-Utip village council who spoke on behalf of his community recounted the ordeal his people face amid extraction activities by oil companies in their community.

He lamented that the rivers and farmlands have been polluted by oil spills, worrying that even the air in the area is polluted due to incessant gas flares. He demanded that environmental justice be given to his people.

His words, “All we want is environmental justice, they should repair and restore our land to its original state. We want these oil companies to stop the gas flares. Our people are dying and they don’t care about us.

On his part, Gabriel Olomi from Eteo Community, Rivers State called for environmental restoration and financial compensation for people who have lost their means of livelihood to oil spills, especially the June 2023 spill in his community.

Recounting his ordeal at the 2023 spills and making some demands, he said; “we woke up on 13 June 2023 and saw oil all over our streams, in the next one week we discovered it was NNPC property. They came in the night with armed men and sealed the place and all the drinking water and fishes were destroyed.

“We have written letters to the House of Assembly, to the Senate, and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA and nothing has been done. We want them to bring our land back to its original status so that we have back our source of living, my place is like a dead zone, with no fishing activities, and no water to drink. We want a total removal of the dilapidated pipes so that such things will not occur again.”

Speaking, the Director of Climate Change and Environmental Awareness at the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Ini Umo representing the Commissioner, Uno Etim said, the state government has reviewed and strengthened some environmental policies to make them more people friendly.

She also advised the people not to engage in activities that would be inimical to the environment, noting that the government was willing to look into their prayers.

Earlier, the Executive Director, HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, an Environmental expert challenged the oil Communities to stand for themselves and see how to solve their problems having learnt enough from the organization.

He described the communities as victims of issues they never bargained for, stressing the need for environmental and social justice for all oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta.

Bassey also decried the level of derelict and abandoned oil wells in the Niger Delta noting that they are waiting time bombs even as he called on governments to ensure proper decommissioning of the abandoned wellheads.

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