Says human existence in Bonny, Forcados under threat by toxic substance
By Binebai Princewill
Apex Ijaw Youth group in the Niger Delta region, operating under the auspices of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has knocked International Oil Companies operating in the Niger Delta region on the urgent need to stop whatever dangerous substance they are depositing into the Forcados and Bonny rivers in Rivers and Delta States.
The warning was contained in a strong worded statement issued to newsmen in Portharcourt yesterday, signed by the trio of Comr. Kennedy Olorogun, Chairman of the IYC transition implementation committee; Comr. Frank Akiefa, secretary as well as Comr. James Tobin, member of the commitee, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper.
The statement alleged that both aquatic and human lives are in grave danger owing to the toxic substance deposited into the rivers by SPDC and other companies operating in the area which has resulted to the massive death of fishes.
IYC particularly called on the Federal and statement governments as well as the relevant agencies in the country to swinge into action by mitigating the sufferings of the people.
The trio in the statement maintained that they would not seat idle and watch IOCs destroys the aquatic lives in the area, alleging that the future is grim as human existence in Forcados and Bonny are in grave danger owing to the unconfirmed toxic substance deposited into the rivers.
The statement reads in full below:
April 17, 2020
AMID COVID – 19: MARINE LIFE, HUMAN EXISTENCE UNDER THREAT IN BONNY, FORCADOS AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES
As the world grapples with one of the worst global health challenges in recent times; with a death toll of more than 125, 000 and with an infection rate of about two million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The coastal communities of Bonny, Forcados and other surrounding communities are presently facing severe cases of oil pollution and other toxic substances in the midst of the global pandemic.
At the moment, marine life and the lives of the people of these coastal areas are under severe threat. The entire water body surrounding these communities have been severely despoiled by oil spillage and other toxic substances. There are unconfirmed reports that some of the major oil companies operating in these areas may have discharged very dangerous toxic substances into their rivers and creeks; coupled with oil spills which have resulted in the death of marine and aquatic life.
These multinationals operating in the region care less about the environmental and economic impact of their oil explorative and exploitative activities. Their major goal is to satisfy the insatiable quest for pecuniary gains by their underhand imperialist and local collaborators.
The leadership of the Transition Implementation Committee of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) would not sit idly and watch any community in Ijaw land or Niger Delta being destroyed by the avarice and greed of people who have not and are not contributing to the economic wellbeing of the Country.
“The Council is calling on relevant government institutions and agencies to swiftly come to the aid of these Ijaw Communities of Bonny, Forcados,Kula and other riverine communities in the area to mitigate the effect of the oil pollution and the discharge of toxic substances that are presently destroying aquatic and marine life”.
” Government institutions; such as the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency – NOSDRA, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency – NESREA, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC and other Human Right Organizations; locally and International should rise to the occasion and put an end; to the senseless and meaningless destruction and killing of marine life, including the lives of humans and the ecosystem by these Oil Majors.
” We demand that a high powered investigative panel should be set up by the federal government where appropriate sanctions would be meted out to anyone or organization found culpable and adequate compensation should be given to the people of the area, in order to serve as a deterrent to these companies and organizations”.
” If you go to Bonny now and see for yourself; you will be amazed as to the extent of destruction that have taken place. You will see dead fishes floating on top of the river. Fishermen in the area can longer go to fishing and you know the times we are in; in this season of Coronavirus, you can better imagine what the people in these areas are going through. The entire body of water surrounding these Communities are saturated with oil spills. Everything in the water is dead. What these communities are facing is also applicable to other riverine communities of Delta, Edo and Bayelsa. If nothing is done urgently, it may lead to uprising.
” We have a government that has deliberated refused to send palliatives in this period of national and global lockdown to Communities in the Niger Delta. And they say we are ‘One Nigeria’. A time will come and very soon when resources found in our area would be used to develop our communities alone”.
Oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta are suffering severely under the yoke of mindless and barbaric exploitation of the resources in the region. Before the federal government declared lockdown in some States including the FCT, Communities in the Niger Delta were already in economic and environmental lockdown. The people living in these communities no longer see themselves as citizens of Nigerian. Something needs to be done urgently. The extent of environmental pollution in the area is alarming. The death rate from oil and gas explorative activities of these multinationals exceeds what the world now know as the novel Coronavirus.
Comr. Kennedy Olorogun
Chairman IYC Transition Implementation Committee
Comr. Frank Akiefa
Comr. James Tobin