From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has accused the Federal Government of colluding with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to underdeveloped the Niger Delta region.
This was made known by the national spokesperson of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Mr Ebilade Erekefe during a fact-finding mission of oil spills affected areas in Sangana and Fish-town communities of Akassa clan, Brass LGA.
He expressed dismay over what he described as “negligence” on the part of the Federal government to the plights of the coastal communities along the Atlantic Bank affected by the oil spillage which have lasted for close to two weeks.
He noted with sadness the level of destruction the oil spill has caused to the environment and the aquatic life of the people whose means of livelihood is predominantly fishing.
He said: ‘As you can see with me, this is the spotted flowing crude oil along the sea and on the shores of the River bank. It’s quite unfortunate and provocative that up till now the two major oil companies, Chevron and CONOIL that is operating in this shoreline have not taken responsibility for their negligence.
‘As Ijaw Youth Council, we have a duty to join our people to come and see what is happening here, and what we are seeing is quite sad and unfortunate, that a company doing multibillion-dollar business in a community where the livelihood of the people is dependent on the aquatic life are not being given the desired attention, especially in their moments of needs.
‘Up until this moment, none of them have even sent representatives to come to these communities to interface with them, at least to show empathy in their current travails. The people are passing through serious health challenges and we call on these IOC’s to send relief materials including health workers immediately to save lives.
‘What you’re seeing here is not pipeline vandalism as they’ve always said, this is clearly an equipment failure on the part of the IOCs whose pipelines have been in existence longer than the expiring date. They need to replace them immediately to safe our environment.
‘We don’t want to believe that the FG who’s benefiting majorly from the oil operations of the IOCs is colluding with them to treat our people as animals whenever a spill occurs.’
Ebilade stated that the delegation will go back and take a strong but decisive position that will be backed by all necessary legitimate actions if need be, which we believe will compel the company whose facility has caused this unimaginable damage to own-up and take responsibility.