By Godwin Oghre
Sapele — A lONG stretch of River Ethiope, which is the main source of drinking water for rural dwellers in Ethiope West Local Government Area and Ovwore, Eko, Amukpe, Okirighwre, Sapele Okpe and Ogorode communities in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State, has been polluted by crude oil, leaking from one of the oil pipelines belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which runs across the river, at Eko village.
The people of the affected communities have cried out to the federal and state governments, as well as NNPC, Federal Environmental Protection Agency, FEMA, and security agencies to come to their aid and evaluate the crude oil from the river, which is their only source of drinking water and fish farming.
Chairman of Amukpe Community, Deacon Believe Edeki told Vanguard in Sapele, yesterday, that the crude oil pollution had already killed a large quantity of aquatic lives in the river and hampered fish farming, which is the major occupation of the rural dwellers on the bank of the river.
Deacon Edeki said the situation could aggravate the insecurity situation in the area, as youths, who were hitherto fish farmers, may resort to crime in order to survive.
He said if the river was not cleaned and the pollution removed immediately, there might be an out break of cholera and other diseases.
He noted that the people had made several entreaties to NNPC, but the corporation has been paying deaf ears to their plight. He said the pollution has affected marine activities in the area.
He added that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency that was contacted was yet to show up to assess the extent of damage caused by the pollution to the lives of the people of the area.