By Emma Amaize
WARRI – THE Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, Monday, expressed concern that many fishermen and peasant farmers in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, especially Delta State, have deserted their long-established fishing and farming occupation because of the nonstop pollution of their environment by multi-national oil companies, pipeline vandals and oil bunkerers.
National coordinator of the group, Mr. Sheriff Mulade, in a statement, said: “Our farmers and fishermen are being forced out of their age- long occupation as a result of the activities of those destroying our oil facilities. Let us save our environment by shunning the destruction of oil facilities/installations in our area.”
He asserted: “Enough of the destruction of the Niger-Delta region environment, our people can no longer carry out their fishing business and the peasant farmers can no longer carry out their farming because the environment has been destroyed.”
Mulade said: “It is unfortunate that multinational oil companies which obey and adhere strictly to environmental best practices internationally in their countries and other parts of the globe, continue to hide under the corrupt practices in Nigeria and introduced divide and rule, cause disunity amongst communities and militarize the region under the disguised of security challenges to exploit the communities and nation freely.”
“The failure of multinational oil companies to adhere strictly to environmental best practices in the Niger Delta region coupled with unholy activities of pipeline vandals and those stealing our oil are affecting the Niger Delta Region environment are destroying the ecosystem.
“Today our farmlands are being destroyed as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals and illegal oil bunkers. We appeal to those responsible for the destruction of our once fertile environment to halt their criminal activities. Our environment must be protected by all and sundry,” he said.
The CEPEJ coordinator cautioned: “The environment being destroyed today is not the best, let those stealing our oil illegally put an end to their unholy activities. Pipeline vandals should stop the destruction of our environment and oil facilities and take their grievances to the negotiating table.”
“They are not helping the Niger Delta environment, the oil- bearing communities are suffering as a result of the destruction of the environment,”‘ he said.