By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
A team of journalists, focused on inspiring policy makers to giving attention to developmental issues for the overall interest of citizens, has called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency intervene on the calamity, called “soot” that has befallen communities in Rivers State, as a result of oil exploration.
The group, Journalists For Development (J4D), in a statement signed by it’s National Coordinator, Alhaji Tajudeen Tijjani and Alex Uangbaoje, National Publicity Secretary, urged the FG to act fast and take decisive action to end the menace on the issue which they say is beyond the power of the River State Government.
According to the statement, “Soot comes from the activities of the hydrocarbon industry and many illegal refineries in the creeks has caused a lot of untold hardships to many families in the State.
” With this situation, many people have gone down with nasal infections and respiratory problems which has led to killings of a number of people.”
They noted that the illegal refineries, which is attributed to disease were set up with the support of security agents, who looked the other side, when the boys are carrying out their illegal jobs. We also discover that the oil majors are more interested in the oil than in the people’s well-being.
They expressed concern on the health hazard facing the people, and expressed sympathy to the government and people of Rivers State over the issue.
“The reported outbreak of a disease called Soot due to alleged recklessness of the security agencies to handle the proliferation of illegal refineries ,which has caused pollution of River State environment.
“Journalists For Development (J4D) therefore called on the Federal Government to wade into the calamity and ordered the top echelon of the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Oli Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), to intervene and save the lives of the people, who are endangered by the activities of the oil giants.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on this outbreak of soot has shown that residents of Port-Hacourt are killed on daily basis without the government concern.
“The Federal Government should not turn deaf ears to the plight of these people, who have cried our, protested without any one coming to their rescue.” They added.