Warns another Ogoni scenario may play out in iIjawland 

By Samuel Oyadongha

THE Ijaw National Congress, INC, has said the Federal Government and oil companies were sabotaging the lives of Ijaw people, warning that unless the government shows enough commitment to guarantee their safety, what happened in Ogoni land may turn out to be a child’s play.

President of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, spoke against the backdrop of the raging oil well leakage at the Santa Barbara Well 1 in Oil Mining Lease, OML 29, operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, AEEPCO, in Nembe creek, Bayelsa State.

Flanked by Chief Nengi James, Vice President II;  Ebipamowei Wodu, National Secretary; Chief Kennedy Odiowei, National Financial Secretary and Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha, Okaba decried the continued silence of the Federal Government over the incident, which he described as ”huge environmental disaster that has destroyed the livelihoods of over 40 communities.

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“We want to express our dismay over the position of Aiteo that the oil spill was caused by sabotage. INC considers this as preempting and unacceptable because to the best of our knowledge, no Joint Inspection Visitation, JIV, had been conducted to ascertain the cause of the well explosion.

“We have gotten enough of this kind of maltreatment of our people. In fact, from November 1 till date, there has been no public statement from the Federal Government. But if it was explosion caused by militants, they will call it economic sabotage.

“This is sabotaging our livelihoods. The Nigerian state is sabotaging our environment and our lives. They are only bothered when it comes to sabotage of the economy.

“Is the economy more important than the people? Is the economy not meant for the people? Why is the Federal Government only interested in money that comes from our land even when our people are dying? 

“There is explosion that is going on and people are dying but the Federal Government has not said anything. If it had been the other way round, they will say people are sabotaging the economy.”

“As we speak, the leakage is ongoing and has started spreading to Rivers State. You can see before you crude oil samples taken by experts and one of the dead fishes out of several thousand floating on the river to show that this is not hearsay but the sad reality.

“We expected a high powered visitation from the Senate, Presidency, Minister of Petroleum to have come up with a statement.

“But their silence has shown clearly that they are all interested in providing enabling environment for the exploitation of crude.

“The Petroleum Industry Act is about having enabling environment for the oil companies to operate at the expense of the people.

“Unless the Federal Government shows enough evidence to justify our safety what happened in Ogoni land might be a child’s play.”

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