Port Harcourt — Stakeholders in Rivers State have raised the alarm that activities of oil exploration firms operating in Andoni Local Government Area of the state, was threatening wildlife in the area.
Andoni is one of the Local Government Areas in Rivers State playing host to controversial OML11 oil bloc, and oil fields in the area are part of the 33 fields within the bloc, which are being operated by both indigenous and multinational oil firms.
But the stakeholders speaking at a forum put together by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, in Ngo, Andoni LGA, particularly pointed out that the activities of these oil companies have divided the Andoni Elephant Island into two.
National Coordinator, Niger Delta Biodiversity Consecration Programme Dr. Matthew Dore, stressed the need for oil companies to undertake seismic activities in the area to ensure that the lives of the elephants and other wildlife in the area, are not under threat.
Dore described the concern of the stakeholders as genuine as the situation could affect communications between wildlife species in the western and western parts of the Island.
He said a series of seminars and workshops would be organised for the locals to properly equip them with the necessary skills to protect wild lives in Andoni land from the activities of poachers.
According to him, “There is a need for the communities to take up the campaign with the view to preserving their wildlife species.
“There is a need for the formulation of wildlife and elephant clubs with the view to creating awareness among communities on protecting the wildlife in the area from extinction.”
The United Nations Development Programme also presented communities in Andoni a draft bye-law on the protection of the local wildlife in the area.
The draft bye-law is titled, ‘Andoni Local Government Wildlife Species Protection Bye-law. The Protection of Endangered Flora and Fauna Bye-laws 2019.’