From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A non governmental organization, Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI) has urged the federal government and all other stakeholders concerned to fight against the continuous pollution of Niger Delta environment by oil polluters and other illicit activities affecting the environment.
The group made the request in a speech to mark this year World Environment Day with the theme”Time for Nature”, signed by its Project Coordinator, Okoro Onyekachi Emmanuel.
According to MAJI “the long years wide destruction of the environment in the Niger Delta through oil exploitation have lead to indiscriminate environment which has thereby impacted negatively on the ecological balance of the delta and its rich biodiversity”.
The group urge the government and every stakeholders involved in the exploitation of oil in Ogoni axis and Niger Delta at large to ensure that oil spillages and mining activities that continue to destroy the environment is stopped.
MAJI believes that “this collective responsibility is shouldered by Environmental governmental Agencies, communities and international Oil companies (IOCs). This would be the bedrock for the sustainability of the Earth”
The group however demands that “HYPREP and government environmental regulatory agencies should increase its interactive component of the clean up process; this is to ensure that key stakeholders and communities are able to be in sync with its activities and work plans.
“Traditional rulers and community leaders have to ensure that activities of artisanal refining and mining within their respective communities are stopped. This is because the burning of crude and coal has resulted in the steady increase of soot in our environment, which has resulted in a spike of respiratory diseases and climate change across our communities.
“The Federal Government has to follow through with its plan on stopping gas flares in Nigeria. The Federal Government should explore the effective utilization and harness the commercial benefits of Gas, rather than flaring it and further contributing to climate change.
“At best oil exploitation and coal Mining should be abolished and other methods of clean and green energy generation be adopted.Together we can build a better and sustainable environment in the Niger delta, in Nigeria and the world.”
Similarly, an environmental activism group, Oilwatch, has urged the federal government to halt every form of new extractive activities (Fossil fuel/ Mining) in Nigeria most especially in Niger Delta region, saying that the activities from the extractive sectors causes harm to natural environment and leads to massive loss of our biodiversity.
Oilwatch in its massage on World Environment Day, referenced the current state of Ogoniland, stressing that “a once biodiversity hotspot in the Niger Delta region has become one of the most polluted places on Earth due to extractive activities and pollution”.
The group however, pleaded that the “Government should start making adequate and proper plans to redeploy workers back to the cleanup sites in Ogoniland as further delays are compounding the pollution and increasing the biodiversity loss, and the impacts of the pollution in the communities.
“All existing healthcare facilities in impacted communities should be adequately funded and well equipped to cater for the health needs of community people especially in this period of Covid19 Pandemic.
“A just transition to 100% renewable energy systems should be encouraged. Forest and coastal communities should be protected and preserve from the activities of extractive corporations Companies and banks funding fossil fuel extractions should divest from such and instead channel their funding to developing and encouraging renewable alternatives.
“Species hotspots (animals, plants, etc) should be protected from any form of developmental processes- private, or government owned projects. Ecosystem planning and development strategies should be put in place to ensure proper management of community based resources”.