Catholic bishop raises alarm over oil exploration, spill impact in N’Delta
By Nosa Akenzua
The Catholic Bishop of Bomadi Diocese in Delta State, the most Rev Hyacinth Egbebo has appealed to the federal government and oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region to put life and well-being of host communities into consideration in their oil exploration activities.
Bishop Egbebo who was reacting to the devastating effects of oil spill in the region, noted that the water ways, aquatic lives and health of those living in the area had been endangered due to toxic waste from crude oil and other chemical used in drilling.
The cleric stressed that several communities in the area had been destroyed as a result of the oil spill. According to him, large vessels, barges and oil companies activities had destroyed fishing nets, canoes and polluted the water thereby making life miserable and difficult for them as their major occupation is fishing.
“Barges and vessels conveying crude oil to the Agege Community which is situated by the deep sea often polluted the water with crude oil”, he said noting that such crude oil killed aquatic organisms, livelihood of the people and also had hazardous health effects on them as they depended on same water for drinking, cooking and bathing.
He blamed the oil companies for insensitivity, adding that because they were aware of the hazardous effects of their oil activities, they shielded themselves from being stopped by locals by surrounding themselves with armed military personnel whose presence they use to intimidate the locals.
The Catholic Bishop said that it was injustice and sin to abandon the people of Agge Community where vessels and barges habour to lift crude oil and queried if such a place was not good for a sea port. He expressed his fears over what he described as deliberate and unnecessary destruction taking place in his jurisdiction and appealed to the federal government and oil companies responsible to stop the killing of his people which he claimed were dying slowly.