Oil Communities Told to be Serious with Oil SpillNigeria
A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoeN) has called on oil communities in Akwa Ibom State to be environmentally conscious and take pollution as a result of oil spills seriously.
A Nigeria-born international environmentalist and Executive Director, ERA/FoeN, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, made the call at a sensitisation forum with oil communities in Akwa Ibom weekend.
The forum, which was jointly organised by Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom chapter, Host Communities Network of Nigeria, and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, attracted hundreds of community leaders from oil bearing communities in the state.
At the awareness meeting held at Ibeno local government council hall, Mr. Bassey tasked communities hosting oil facilities to be vigilant and report oil spillages to oil companies operating in the area and regulatory agencies promptly to reduce environmental impact.
“Oil Spillage is a dangerous thing; though it does not kill people instantly, it kills gradually and so you should not tamper with the deposits in any way. It is wrong to deny oil spill response team from clean up; the first thing to do is ensure clean up before compensation. The communities are the real monitors of the environment because you are the first to see oil whenever there is a spill incident and you are the nearest to the oil fields,” Bassey said.
He noted that there was need for collaboration between the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom to ensure prompt response to oil spill incidents.
Also speaking, Project officer of the NGO, Mr. Chima Williams, urged the communities to set up environment watch organisations to promote environmental consciousness and ensure that pollution cases are not ignored.
Earlier, Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, Dr. Effiong Archianga, said the oil communities had endured the hazards of oil exploration and production for many decades and urged the NGO to sustain the enlightenment programme to educate the communities.
“We have endured the impact of oil and we want to enjoy the benefits”, the monarch said, commending the efforts of the Environmental Rights Action and Host Communities Network to draw international attention to the plight of fishing communities that suffer from oil spills.
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