Home Environment Akwa Ibom Community laments govt neglect, impact of oil spills

Akwa Ibom Community laments govt neglect, impact of oil spills

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Akwa Ibom Community Laments Govt Neglect, Impact of Oil Spills.

An oil-rich, oil-producing community in Eastern Obollo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Okoroiti, has decried the high level of government absence and the negative impact of international oil companies’ explorative and exploitative activities in the area.

The people made this known during a Community Dialogue on “Wellness and resistance building” organized by an Ecological Think Tank, “Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), at Okoroiti village hall, Eastern Obollo Local Council of the state.

They lamented that despite their huge contributions to the state and national economies through their natural resources (oil), they lack basic social amenities such as clean water, electricity, an access road, and a hospital, among others.

In an interview, the programme manager of HOMEF, Stephen Oduware, wondered how a community that hosts three oil companies and has abundant natural resources could be so economically backward without basic social amenities.

However, he pledged HOMEF’s readiness to partner with them and other CSOs to amplify their voices and address some of these nagging issues.

Speaking with our correspondent, one of the participants, Bathelomew Araguja, explained that Okoroiti people walk miles away to access the primary health center in another community, saying that it was always challenging to rush any emergency case to the hospital amid inaccessible roads.

Araguja further explained that economic activities in the area, such as barbing, hair dressing, and ICT, have declined for over seven years due to the lack of electricity.

He also said that youth unemployment was at its peak despite three IOCs in the council and the fact that some youths were skilled and educated.

In his words, “Our community has been neglected for a long time. We don’t have any access roads; we only have track roads. We have had no clean water for over seven years now or more. We don’t even have light in our community. So many of us need light to do our work, like salons, joints, photocopying, etc. We want the government to look into this and help us.

“We have graduates in our community but no employment. Even some of us have skills, yet we won’t be employed in these companies because we don’t have anybody.”

For her part, Rose Donald Ogwunte said that people have suffered poor yields in their farms and fishing activities over the years due to oil exploration and spills.
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She noted that both the oil companies and government have failed to play their part, irrespective of repeated calls from the community.

The Cordinator of Peace Point Development Foundation (PPDF) Umo Isua-Ikoh, reacting, wondered if there are politicians or Representatives in government from that area saying that it was high time the government began to give a human face to the plight of the people and address some of these challenges.

“It is high time government begins to do their part so that we give the community a human face, it is even a pity that politicians coming out of this community once they win election, they turn their eyes the other way.” He observed.

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