24 June 2015, Benin – Residents of Umoghun-Nokhua community in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State have lamented the degradation of their environment by oil spillage.
The residents said the spillage, which started in March 2014, had led to loss of lives caused by hunger and infectious diseases.
The aggrieved villagers also noted that the community had lost about 2,000 hectares of farmland to the spillage.
One of the community leaders, Moses Egbon, said the people had been subjected to hunger as most of the men could no longer fend for their families, having lost their farms to the spillage.
A youth leader, Michael Eghaghe, said efforts made to draw the attention of relevant authorities to the development had yet to yield any result.
“My community is suffering. About 2,000 hectares are affected; all the crops planted in the community are dead.
“I have written to PPMC and they have refused to come to our aid. Most of the animals in this area are dying. Some local farmers have picked antelopes and grass cutters and those that even eat the animals are sick; some have skin rashes,” he said.
Another resident, Smart Ogunrobo, called for both federal and state assistance towards restoring socio-economic activities.
“The spillage has polluted the source. Getting water now is very difficult for us. I am calling on the Federal Government and the state government to come to our rescue.”
A Senior Special Assistant to Governor Adams Oshiomole on Environment, Mr. Charles Imariagbe, who visited the scene to ascertain the level of impact, said there were evidence of spillage and that appropriate actions would be taken as soon as the Environment Commissioner was briefed.
“We will take the message back to the commissioner. But it is not in my power to say what action will be taken,” Imariagbe said.