PLIGHT OF NIGER DELTA COMMUNITIES: A CALL FOR JUSTICE FOR RUMUEKPE
All is not well in many Niger Delta communities as they increasingly suffer environmental degradation and its attending consequences. Citizens have been stripped of their means of livelihood due to incessant pollution resulting from crude extraction activities.
For decades, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has experienced depleting living conditions. The people, who mainly rely on fishing and farming for livelihood support can no longer do so. Oil spillage has contaminated the waters and made the lands unproductive as well as destroyed their socio-economic life. Communities continue to bear significant brunt of oil extraction activities, including serious health hazards and complication.
A visit to Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State proves that the Nigerian government has more to do to address the endemic level of pollution and degradation caused by oil spillage in the area. Rumuekpe, a community in the local government is devastated by massive pollution and degradation.
According to inhabitants of the area, the community has been unable to access good water for drinking and other domestic use. Mrs Paulina Eze, a member of the community lamented the frustration members of the community faced in accessing clean water. She told Alone’s team that the sorry state of Rumuekpe dated back to 2010, few years after the crisis which ravaged the land but till date the cause of the pollution in the community cannot be traced.
The people of Rumuekpe community have consistently sought government’s intervention and support with no success. They claim that the government had sent two representatives to examine the depth of the oil pollution but has since done nothing about it. They therefore appeal to the government to live up to its responsibility and save the people of Rumuekpe from environmental destruction.
Reacting to the situation, Alone’s Senior Programme officer, Prince Edegbuo condemned the level of environmental pollution in the community. He noted that with the level of water pollution, survival for the people will be difficult.
He therefore calls for justice for the people of Rumuekpe and other communities suffering from the endemic effect of environmental pollution resulting from resource extraction. Alone calls on the Nigerian government to ensure the cleanup of all polluted lands in the Niger delta and help restore the people’s socio-economic life”. There is need for a speedy restoration of the Rumuekpe community and the provision of life saving amenities such as clean portable water. We call for investigation into the cause of the pollution in Rumuekpe and the perpetrator must be made to carry out immediate remediation and compensate the people for their losses.