By KATO P. LADAN Kaduna
A group, Journalists For Development has called on the Federal Government to urgently compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies to halt the imminent threat to lives in Rivers State following the dangers of inhaling the black soot.
The group expressed this in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Tajudeen Tijjani and its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Uangbaoje, made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
“The Journalists For Development (J4D) therefore calls on the Federal Government to wade into the calamity and order the top echelon of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Oli Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), to intervene and save the lives of the people, who are endangered by the activities of the oil giants,” the group demanded.
J4D while expressing its heartfelt concern on the health hazard facing the people of Rivers State, expressed sympathy to the government over the issue.
“The reported outbreak of Soot due to alleged recklessness of the security agencies to handle the proliferation of illegal refineries,,which has caused pollution of River State environment.
“The Soot comes from the activities of the hydrocarbon industry and many illegal refineries in the creeks has caused a lot of untold hardships to many families in the State.
“With this situation, many people have gone down with nasal infections and respiratory problems which has led to killings of a number of people. It is also noted that the illegal refineries, which is attributed to disease were set up with the support of security agents, who looked the other side, when the boys are carrying out their illegal jobs. We also discover that the oil majors are more interested in the oil than in the people’s well-being,” it stated.
The group said that the Federal Government must act fast over the issue, which is beyond the power of the Rivers State Government, by taking a decisive action to end the menace.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on this outbreak of soot has shown that residents of Port-Hacourt are killed on daily basis without the government concern.
“The Federal Government should not turn deaf ears to the plight of these people, who have cried out, protested without any one coming to their rescue,” it appealed