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Edo Oil Community Bemoans Environmental Pollution

Natives and residents of Gelegele community in Ovia North East Local Government Area (LGA) of Edo has called for the revocation of the operational licence of the oil company in the area for causing environmental pollution.

At a one-day capacity building workshop on Friday, organised by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) for the community, the indigenes, who are predominantly farmers, fishermen and women, lamented that due to the activities of the oil company, both their lands and rivers have been polluted with no effort to restore them.

Preye Pawuru, Chairman, Host Communities Network of Nigeria, said operation of the oil company was causing a lot to the residents, including untimely death, hunger, continuous crude oil spill to their rivers and lands.

“The fact is that the oil company operating here is actually causing our suffering and untimely death. In fact, it is almost ending the lifespan of this community.

“We cannot just survive again with the oil company operating in our community. The oil company should leave us and go finally. This is our demand. The flare is located at the heart of the community and this is causing a lot to our health.

“If someone falls sick, we don’t have access road to take the person to the city. No social infrastructure. We are predominantly Fishermen and farmers but no more fishes in the river because of the pollution.

“There is a continuous spill of crude oil into the river. The environment is destroyed. We don’t have any means of survival yet the company is smiling home with billions of dollars while leaving the community in penury.

“The benefits are taken away, while the community bears the risk. So, we are saying we are tired. The company should go,” he said.

He regretted that all engagements with relevant authorities to address the situation yielded no result.

On her part, Mrs. Justina Kororo, Woman leader, Gelegele community, said the heat emissions from the company was having an effect on their sight.

Similarly, Mrs. Victoria Peter said oil extraction had caused the loss of the aquatics, through which they found means to live.

“I am a fisherwoman. Before now, when we went to the river, we used to catch enough fish for sale and use the money to buy other food items.

“But now even crayfish you can’t catch. We are dying of hunger. No light, no portable water. We can’t sleep inside our house because of the heat. I want to call on the government to help us,” he said.

On his part, Mr. Goday Kororo, who claimed to have worked in the oil company for 25 years before retiring said, called on the government to help the poor community.

Earlier in his address, Stephen Oduware, Programme Manager of the HOMEF and Coordinator, FishNet Alliance, said they were in the community to join their voices for the call for a stop to gas flaring and other oil exploration activities in the community.

Oduware demanded for people of the community environmental justice and compensation.

“Gelegele is one of the communities that is highly impacted by oil exploration. There is an oil company here that sites its gas flaring stack right in the heart of the community.

“There are a lot of issues with this. Number one, on the environment, on the people and even on their well-being and livelihoods.

“The people are living corpses due to the operation. The temperature here is far higher than normal.

“So, we are calling for a stop to this environmental injustice in Gelegele.

“Justice must take its course. We are calling for a restoration and remediation of the environment in Gelegele. Compensation must be paid to the people; so we are here to show that solidarity,” he said.

By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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