24 May 2016, KINAABEN — A royal father in Rivers State, His Highness, Chief Vincent Shango-Lolo, has said that Ogoni people would not consent to oil companies carrying on further oil exploration and exploitation on their land after the planned cleanup by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government because the people have gained nothing from oil.
Chief Shango-Lolo, who is the paramount ruler of Kinaaben, an adversely despoiled riverside community at B-Dere River bank, Gokana local government area, lamented that the oil firms have shattered the source of revenue of the people, polluted their environment with no more aquatic life in the communities. A human and environmental rights activist, Comr.
Celestine AkpoBari, also reiterated the position of the monarch that Ogoni people would not agree to any oil exploration activity in the area after government might have concluded the cleanup, saying the people would do anything to stop further despoliation of their homeland.
When Niger Delta Voice visited the community, we observed that thick sludge allegedly stemming from an oil spill that occurred many years ago, still covered the river where the people carry out their fishing activities.
The embittered monarch said: “We have not benefitted anything from the oil business. We do not have good drinking water. Even common mono-pump is not in our community, yet, we are an oil producing area and we will prefer to use our land for farming.”
He expatiated: “This is an extract of the water (showed NDV water in a bowl) that people living around here drink. At a time when this thing came up, people left this place because of the health challenges that accompanied it. The whole place was burnt up and was not inhibited by any person again.
“After that time, for about 23 years now, we do not have anything here; no fish again because of the pollution, the HYPREP sign post will tell better. We are just living by the mercy of God.We have made several calls to the Federal Government about our living condition here. Recently we saw FG representatives coming to see things for themselves. For now, we have not seen anything to remedy our condition.
Expressing the community’s wish not to have their community despoiled further exploration the movement said: “There is still nothing like aquatic life in this place. The cleanup is so important to us because we want to have a life again. I am a party to the call that after the Ogoni cleanup, we will not accept any other form of oil exploration in our place.”
“Because the activities of the oil explorers are criminally motivated so we do not want them again. Residents of the area, who spoke to Niger Delta Voice lamented that life has been agonizing for them because of oil exploration activities by oil companies. They said their health conditions had deteriorated and everything they have has been contaminated.
*DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR – Vanguard