By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A group under the aegis of Journalists For Development, (J4D) has expressed concern over the health hazard caused by soot in Rivers State, South-South, Nigeria, due to environmental pollution of the area, calling on the Federal Government to act fast to save lives.
The group stated this in a press statement signed by Alhaji Tajudeen Ajibade and Alex Uangbaoje, National Coordinator and National Publicity Secretary respectively and made available to the media in Kaduna on Monday, May 7, 2018.
According to the group, many residents of Rivers State have gone down with nasal infections and respiratory problems which has led to loss of lives; saying the FG must act fast over the issue which it said, is beyond the power of the Rivers State Government to take a decisive action to end the menace.
J4D added that the World Health Organization,(WHO) guidelines on the outbreak of soot has shown that residents of Port-Hacourt are killed on daily basis without government’s concern.
The statement reads in part; “We wish to express our heartfelt concern on the health hazard facing the people of Rivers State and also express our sympathy to the government 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 Rivers State environment.
“The 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.
“It is also noted that the illegal refineries, which is attributed to disease were set up with the support of security agents, who looked the other way, 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.
“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 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.”