By Emem Idio
YENAGOA— WORRIED by the devastating impact of oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region, stakeholders including representatives of oil producing communities and civil society groups have called on the Federal Government to prevail on multinational oil companies to evolve mechanisms to halt the continuous environmental pollution and end gas flaring in the region.
They made the call in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at a town hall meeting organised by the Face Initiative and Mac-Jim Foundation.
The participants who include traditional rulers, community development committees, women and youth groups of host communities, representatives of security agencies and ministries of environment, civil society organisations and the media, were unanimous in their submissions that the people’s traditional means of livelihood, especially fishing and farming, had been adversely affected by the environmental degradation caused by the actions and inactions of the government and oil firms.
Stressing the need for oil companies to ensure that oil spills were cleaned up properly with adequate compensation paid to affected communities, the participants noted that the Joint Task Force deployed in the region to secure oil facilities and arrest perpetrators has been using fire to destroy containers of illegally refined petroleum products and equipment seized from illegal bunkerers.
Giving an overview of the theme, Mr. Jim-Dorgu, said that the advocacy project was initiated to generate reorientation and the political will towards stopping further acts of environmental pollution.
He added that the campaign was also aimed at encouraging participation of Niger Deltans in agricultural development to reduce poverty caused by the underdevelopment of the region.