June 24, 2024

Address oil pollution in N’Delta, stakeholders tell oil firms

Address oil pollution in N/Delta, stakeholders tell oil firms

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

Stakeholders at the weekend demanded that oil companies be compelled to address the adverse health impact of oil exploration in N/Delta.

The Director of a Non-Governmental Organization, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre Dr Emem Okon advocated this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in the Otuabagi community in Ogbia local government area of the state commissioned by the Organization.

Otuabagi community within Oloibiri District was the first place crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.

Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction; which has a profound negative impact on the health and livelihood of women in the Otuabagi community.

She lamented that the research revealed that the participants had over a thousand times hydrocarbons in their blood samples more than the World Health Organisation (WHO), threshold and therefore demanded compensation from oil companies and the government.

“There is therefore a need to demand compensation, Restoration of polluted sites, health, actions to keep us alive, to resist death, resist poverty and justice,” he said.

The Director explained that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policymakers, community leaders and all those who strive for a more equitable and sustainable future “will serve as a more powerful tool for policymakers, community leaders and all those who strive for a more equitable and sustainable future.”

A public health physician and head of the research team Dr Bieye Briggs said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was a very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons in the community.

Briggs advocated for the federal government to carry out a health audit in the Otuabagi community and other oil-producing areas in the Niger Delta region “to institute intervention programme to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.”

Also speaking the traditional ruler of the Otuabagi community, Chief Daniel Amangi commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the federal government to focus their attention on the community and develop it.

Amangi also called for immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.

Chief Alagoa Morris lamented that life expectancy is lower in the Niger Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.

He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to alleviate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.

The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and a panel discussion on the report’s findings.

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