A’Ibom community threatens to shut down oil firm over pollution
The Ikot-Ebidang community in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has threatened to block and stop further operations of an oil company operating in the community, Natural Oilfield Services Limited, over alleged environmental pollution, occasioned by hydrocarbon discharge, which has worsen the lives of people of the community
South-South PUNCH reports that large emission of hydrocarbon has polluted the environment, destroyed the community’s water sources and ecosystem and resulted to skin rashes, respiratory diseases, bronchitis, asthma and other strange diseases, which has impacted on the citizenry health.
The community, represented by Ikot-Ebidang Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, is furious that when it noticed the discharge, it notified the oil firm and gave it seven-day ultimatum to clean up the environment and pay compensation, but lamented that nothing has been done by the oil company.
It further expressed disappointment that the oil firm has consistently snubbed several intervention meetings called at the instance of the paramount ruler of Onna Local Government Area, His Royal Highness, Raymond Inyang, who has, made several attempts at mediating on the matter.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the President of the society, Dr David Udonsek, which was made available to South-South PUNCH correspondent in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said that the community has no option than to mobilise for mass protest and embark on litigation as a last resort.
He said, “We are prepared to block and stop the company’s operations until Ikot Ebidang is cleaned up and remediated and adequate compensation paid to the community. We are set for mass protest and litigation as a last resort.”
Noting with disappointment that throughout the period of the discharge, the company “neglected, refused and failed put in place mitigation measures to prevent the spread of the hydrocarbon in order to minimize its negative impact and spread to other communities,” Udonsek averred that the ugly development has led to “hazardous health condition of the people, and caused poverty, stress and psychological trauma, tantamount to abuse of our people’s right to life and to live in an environment favourable to socio-economic development as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, of which Nigeria is a signatory.”
Efforts to speak with the management D of the company were not fruitful as at the time of filing this report.