Posted by News Express | 14 August 2018 | 813 times
Some residents at Imiringi, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa, have lamented blockade of natural water channels by oil and gas exploration activities at nearby oilfields.
The residents said on Monday that the indiscriminate activities have also created artificial channels resulting to flooding of farmlands and plantain plantations in the area.
Chief Rotami Ademe member of the Olugbo family of Imiringi, whose and was affected said that exploration activities at the oil field have created ecological problems that took a negative toll on their farmlands.
“As Shell started work, it affected our farms; plantain. The natural creeks were blocked and so all our crops were damaged and, no money.
“The canal dug by Daewoo as instructed by Shell and blocking of the natural water channels prevented free flow of water.
“This led to our farms being waterlogged and destruction of our crops. Farming is my main means of livelihood.
“As water no longer flow as it used to be in the environment owing to the canal and blocking of natural water channels by Daewoo; my farm became waterlogged and that damaged my plantain,” Ademe said.
A former Vice-Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC) of Imiringi, Mr Ranami Afagha, said that oil and gas field development activities at Shell’s field had adversely affected the natural ecosystem in the area.
“Daewoo working for shell has had two major projects in Imiringi environment in recent times.
“The first one was a pipeline that heads from Olugbo family land to part of Rivers State, and the second one is the recent one they just ended last December at the gas gathering plant on my family land.
“Yes, I am aware that Daewoo operations at the Olugbo family land caused a lot of damage to farmlands because they blocked a lot of natural waterways.
“Till date, those blocked natural waterways and creeks are still blocked’’. Afagha said.
Also, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) said in its field report on the incident that oil and gas exploration operation actually caused negative environmental impact.
According to the report signed by Mr Alagoa Morris, ERA’s Head of Field Operations, creating a canal and deliberately blocking several natural water channels in the environment had distorted the natural ecosystem.
The NGO stated that reaction of victims shows clearly that the issue is a matter of survival and defense of their environmental rights as contained in Article 24 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager, Shell Petroleum Development Company, did not immediately respond to requests for reaction to the development.
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