Social Action, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has trained various community members across the Niger Delta region in monitoring and reporting of the impacts of oil spills on the environment. The training which held in Port Harcourt, was attended by host community members in the Niger Delta.
The communication manager, Social Action Peter Mazi said the essence of the training is to get the communities to be part of the process in spotting oil spills, reporting and monitoring them. “We felt that for us to balance the information dissemination is to get the sides of the communities, let them know how to spot the oil spill, they should know the mechanism to report these oil spills using visual and audio aids and also know to engage government agencies “. He emphasised
Mazi stressed that he is optimistic that however the participants will implement what they have learnt in their various communities. “We want them to go and implement what they learnt in this training in their various communities, from time to time we want to see reports from what they are doing and from those reports we know how to engage government agencies based on their experiences they have on the field, the bottom line is that we want to see less effect of oil spills in the communities “. He said.
In the same vein, Kentebe Ebiaridor of Oil Watch Africa noted that the training is important as it will reduce conflicts between the oil companies and host communities. “This training is important because they are discrepancies between what communities believe and what the oil companies and NOSRA reports, this type of differences is what causes conflicts between host communities and the oil companies, it is important the communities and the companies be abreast with what is happening and most importantly how communities can be able to stand firm on what they see on site and also be able to report the differences of whatever is reported “.
Kentebe further disclosed that over the years monitoring activities of oil spill in the Niger Delta region, the government is not fair to the communities in terms of clean up. “I think it is important the government always stand on the side of the communities because the communities get brunt of what happens in terms of every form of extraction, we have noticed that the government ambition of prioritising profit over the people, has destabilised and destroyed the environment and the issues around the Niger Delta. This has led to the destruction of the entire Niger Delta region.
The continued extraction of oil without attention to the environment had seriously impoverished and led to palpable poverty. A holistic look at the entire region after 6 years of extraction, with no adequate attention to healthcare, standard education and good roads in Nigeria Delta is a foundation for lack of development and unrest”. Kentebe disclosed.
One of the participants Basil Nkpordee sharing his experiences as an environmental monitor bemoans the vast degradation of Ogoniland due to environmental pollution which has plunged the land into series of premature death. “We have lost a generation of leaders as a result of oil exploration and exploitation in Ogoniland, our environment is sick that is why we have record of massive deaths, to attain the age of 50 is a call for celebration”; Nkpordee bemoans.
He further revealed that the people of Bude in Bosu community in Ogoniland are now environmental refugees due to oil pollution.
“There is a community called Bude in Bosu ,today they are environmental refugees because of the pollution done by SPDC and the Nigerian state, all these are some of the issues that i have witnessed, the pollution does not have boundaries, it is not necessarily the coastal communities it cut across all the communities in Ogoniland “.
The training had participants majorly from Rivers, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Imo states.
Leave a Reply