The oil spill in Eteo community of Rivers State, which crippled farming and fishing activities in the area in June 2023, is yet to be cleaned up, environmentalists have said.
The Niger Delta remains one of the most polluted places in the world, no thanks to the recurring oil spills which have continued regularly at several locations in the region.
Recall that in June, two oil spills ravaged Aleto and Eteo communities in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), and members of Oilwatch Nigeria paid visits to the two communities on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 for an on-the-spot assessment to ascertain the level of response and possible cleanup of the affected environment, but met the environment still in a sorry situation.
While some amount of work was ongoing at Aleto, no response was in sight for the Eteo community.
Eteo community complained that no Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) has been done by the polluting company, NPDC, to ascertain the cause and extent of damage done to the environment.
At Aleto where a JIV was carried out, community people expressed worry that the report is yet to be released.
The Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, when speaking on-site, expressed displeasure that the oil companies were neither decommissioning their aged infrastructure nor ensuring that their facilities were in good working condition.
He regretted that rather than remediating the harm caused by their activities, more investments were being made by the oil companies to expand.
Bassey further stated that it is regrettable that two months after the spill occurred, the companies were yet to respond and interface with the communities in any meaningful way.
He said, “It was heartbreaking listening to the lamentation of the community women who now have no source of potable water and cannot process their cassava, a major staple due to the pollution of their stream.”
The insensitivity of the polluters and regulatory agencies is appalling. These atrocious incidents are also compounding the work of HYPREP.
While the agency is working to clean some areas, these polluting incidents are threatening to erase their efforts.”
Also speaking during the site visit, coordinator, Peoples Advancement Centre (PAC), and member Oilwatch Nigeria Celestine Akpobari, called on NOSDRA and other relevant agencies of government to do the needful.
“It is sad and very embarrassing that a spill of the magnitude at Eteo would happen in very close proximity to human habitation and NPDC and the government of
Nigeria carry on as if nothing has happened to the people. It is worse that the spill has affected the community’s only source of drinking water,” he said.
While receiving the CSOs who visited his palace, His Royal Highness Emere Emmanuel Akobe, the paramount ruler of Eteo community expressed shock over the attitude of the NPDC saying, “Our beautiful stream is dead, My people don’t deserve this type of treatment and after we have brought the notice of the National Assembly, there is still no response from them, and my people continue to suffer the impact of the spill.”
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