7 September 2011, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT – Nigeria’s federal government has been told to declare a state of emergency in Ogoni area of Rivers State, with a view to tackling the health and environmental challenges faced by the people.
The United Nations in its recent report on Ogoniland, noted the challenges arising from oil spills in the area and urged the government to take steps to address the problem.
The Ogoni Civil Society Platform, in a statement by Mr. Mike Karikpo, enjoined the government to provide portable drinking water for the people and set up a cancer screening centre that would screen those with cancer-related ailments arising from activities of oil exploration for immediate medical attention.
He said: “Considering the alarming finding that there is no continuous clay layer in Ogoniland and the ease with which hydrocarbon pollution migrates downward into ground water, we are concerned that this exposes the groundwater in all of Ogoni and beyond to hydrocarbon contamination, especially by such cancer causing compounds as benzene and toluene.
“Federal Government should provide sustainable and clean water to all communities in Ogoni as the ad hoc measures being employed by the Rivers State Government may compound the problem.
“We call on the state and Federal governments to immediately set up cancer screening centres in the four Ogoni local government areas to assess and follow up on impacted people.”