Nigeria: Communities bemoan neglect by oil companies operating in their areas

Author: Julius Osahon Yenagoa, The Guardian (Nigeria) , Published on: 16 July 2019

‘Oil Spill: Bayelsa communities slam oil firms over neglect’ 13 July 2019

Elders, women and youth leaders from various communities in Brass, Nembe and Southern Ijaw Councils of Bayelsa State have bemoaned their neglect by oil companies operating in their areas. They also lamented years of oil spillages that have destroyed their environment, aquatic life, as well as air and water pollution and called on the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) and international communities to come to their rescue. They made the claims during the ongoing stakeholder’s forum organised by BSOEC across the eight councils of the state to acquaint the commission on the impact of oil and gas exploration activities on host communities.

At the interactive session in Twon Brass, stakeholders reeled out tales of woes, just as they expressed disappointment with the oil companies in their communities. Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, who was represented by Percy Jerry Wemi-Kuomain, said it took several letters and pressure before Agip came to assess an oil spill but it took Agip over nine months to award the cleanup contract, despite several calls and letters to the company. An Odioma community chief, Walter Michael Omiedonya, also lamented the nature of spillage cleanup done by the company, which he said was just on the surface, when it ought to be at the river bed of the riverine community.

…The woman leader of Sangana community, Flora Davies, described as totally false, reports that the oil companies employed some of its indigenes into key positions, while the youth leader, Robinson Elkana, said their river had been polluted and they lacked drinking water and pleaded with Governor Dickson to help address the issues raised. At the interactive session in Oporoma, stakeholders noted that despite their huge contribution to the wealth of the nation, most of their communities lack good schools, health facilities, roads, and other basic amenities and oil exploration had brought them untold hardship. Representatives of other clans and communities charged the commission to ensure that the oil companies operating in their areas provide succour, especially in the area of proper cleaning of the environment affected by the spill.

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