By Ndu Samuel, Asaba
Some coastal communities in Burutu Local government of Delta State that were recently affected by river pollution that led to the death of fishes and other aquatic organisms have called on the government to prevail on the oil companies responsible to take steps in addressing the challenges posed by the pollution.
The call was made through a press statement issued on Monday by an opinion leader and head of committee, High Chief Augustine O, Seibi (JP) on behalf of the affected communities, a copy of which was obtained by The Liberator Newspaper.
Seibi said that “the Federal Government, the multinational oil companies and other relevant agencies of the marine culture can NOT be unaware of the trending issue of a devastating environmental pollution that (has) occurred a few months ago in rivers Forcados, Ramos and others terminating at the Atlantic ocean.”
The Opinion leader noted that it has become expedient to mount pressure on the three tiers of government to come to the aid of the people as the plight of the affected communities gets worse by the day.
According to him, the communities have sufficient reasons to say that the oil companies are responsible for the river pollution, saying “It is indeed their explorative activities like in most oil spill cases that could contaminate the waters of the environment occasioning the wanton death of fishes and other aquatic organisms which are further driven by the tidal flow to be deposited at the shores of communities and other uninhabited environments.
He listed the communities affected both directly and indirectly to include Sokoh Fishing communities, Ekeremor communities, Omiegbene, Majorgbene Sietoru, Fish town, Aghoro 1& 2.
These communities he said are “situated at the shorelines of the major rivers, tributaries, estuaries, distributaries and rivulets which are open to daily tidal flow of the sea.”
He further lamented that the “ugly situation of acute hunger, sickness, death and several forms of frustration is further accentuated by the presence of the deadly corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic which enforced lockdown and its associate negative characteristic conditions.”
The committee chair enumerated fishing, farming, hunting , transportation and education as some of the occupation and vocation of the communities which he said have been negatively affected by the action of the oil companies.
He therefore proposed some interventionist measures which must be pursued by both the goveenment and the oil companies in other to emeliorate the suffering of the people to include “adequate number of relief materials and palliatives” which he said must be provided to “cushion our anxiety, fear and pains as well as the provision of some fishing gadgets and fertilizers to enhance proper and serious farming work.”
He also said that “Government (Local, State, Federal) and the various oil companies responsible should pay adequate compensation to all impacted communities.”
He noted that “Water, light and shelter are very essential in human life, pollution is a total destruction to human life therefore, we need drilling of boreholes to provide us drinkable water and giant generating plants eg: 500KVA each in all affected communities as enumerated above” He said
“It may surprise you to learn that a number of deaths occurred in several communities as a result of this pollution. Sokoh for example lost three people; Johnson Pabebe (M) Adoere Epreyofie(F) and Pa Ogbuma Ingologolo(M). Ekremo Federated communities also lost people namely: Ekenrenwei Igenisuode and his wife Yeikonne. All died of cholera, therefore the need for a cottage hospital cannot be overemphasized.”
“We request that let employment be given to our youths roaming the streets either into the oil companies and/ or other agencies to stem the problem of joblessness. ” He added