From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe has called for an urgent action to stop the spewing crude oil from the Oil Mining License (OML) 29, Santa Barbara oil field in Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State owned by Aiteo.
Alaibe in a statement who described the massive oil spill that has been raging for over a month into the Nembe ecosystem waters as catastrophic, expressed fears the massive spillage may lead to serious health hazards to the indigenes of the area if not stopped on time.
According to him the people of Nembe communities do not deserve the social and economic death sentence being handed to them by the ongoing oil spillage,.
He called on the relevant agencies to redouble their efforts towards clamping the spewing oil well to save the people.
” The land has turned infertile. Nothing can grow there any longer. The rivers are polluted forever. Our fishermen are out of work. Our hard-working farmers have been rendered jobless. In the absence of clean, pipe-borne water for the people, a commodity that is taken for granted in other climes, today, with this oil spill, not even the river water is worth any domestic use any longer.
“There is no doubt that this oil spill has the capacity to result in health hazards that would eventually lead to loss of lives. Let me repeat that the good people of Bayelsa State, the oil-bearing
centre of Nigeria, do not in any way deserve this catastrophe. The people of Nembe do not deserve this avoidable environmental affliction. The question is: when will this leakage be put under control,” Alaibe said.
While lamenting that the people of Nembe have not benefited from oil like other communities in America and Europe where oil has transformed their lives, he commended the Minister of State, Environment, Sharon Ikeazor for speaking up strongly on the side of the people by calling for measures to prevent oil spill and stiffer penalties for those behind any acts of sabotage.
Alaibe pleaded with Nembe people to remain calm, stressing that those in charge of policy must act to save the situation.
”To my fellow citizens of Nembe, words are not enough to describe your agony and hopelessness. Be assured that you are not alone. My appeal to you is that in spite of this, please stay calm as we join hands with the appropriate authorities to seek the way out of this mess. No blame game can reverse what has happened. No act of violence can bring back what we have lost. We all share in your pain. This is no time for dirty political grandstanding. This situation needs a practical solution. The people in charge of policy must rise and act now.