Mkpoikana Udoma 25 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has raised alarm over what it described as an ‘impending humanitarian and environmental disaster’ at Koluama I and II, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The IYC, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, said the communities of Koluama Kingdom were on the verge of being wiped away following a daily-threatening ocean surge.
“These communities, especially Koluama II, is at the risk of being overtaken by the ocean which has taken a substantial part of the land on which the community is situated, and if urgent steps are not taken, the entire Koluama II community may not exist in the nearest future”, the statement said.
Omare, in the statement, also decried the neglect of the communities by the American oil giant, Chevron, after decades of oil exploration and exploitation in the area without commensurate corporate social impact to ameliorate the environmental hazards suffered by the community.
“Koluama communities are yet to recover from the horrible gas explosion incident of January 16, 2012 occasioned by operational failure in Chevron’s KS Endeavour rig facility which resulted in a huge fire that burned for 46 days destroying flora and fauna”.
“Chevron’s wilful refusal to pay compensation for damages arising from the 2012 gas explosion coupled with the abject poverty in the community speaks volume of the level of abandonment,” he said.
The Ijaw youth body also accused the Federal Government of insensitivity to the plight of Koluama people as it maintained that despite repeated appeals to the government, the life-threatening situation in the area had remained unattended to.
It called on the Federal Ministry of Environment to take proactive steps to avert the looming danger arising from the ocean surge.
In another development, the IYC has commended the Federal Government on the recent award by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of contracts for security of its pipelines to ex-Niger Delta militants and community-based organisations.
In a statement commending the government, the IYC stated: “It is on record that Nigeria in recent times has recorded an unprecedented destruction of oil pipeline facilities and loss of oil revenue as a result of sabotage under the supervision of the Navy, Army and Police.
“There is no disputing the fact that community policing is one of the most effective means of fighting crimes all over the world as no crime can be committed without the tacit or overt support of the people of a particular community.
“Therefore, considering the fact that the conventional security outfits have failed in the protection of oil facilities, the federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan made the best decision by awarding the contract for the protection of oil facilities to communities where these facilities are situated.
“The IYC state without fear of contradiction that awarding surveillance of oil pipelines to community based contractors is the best means to protect oil facilities. There is no body that can protect oil facilities more than the indigenes of the communities”.