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Monday, 26 March 2018

Life In OgoniLand Years After The Oil Spill And Devastated Environment

Life In OgoniLand Years After The Oil Spill And Devastated Environment

By Maxwell Chuks
for Family Writers

It is over decades Ogoni Land of the present day Rivers State of Nigeria in the so-called  South South (Niger Delta region) has been devastated as a result of oil spill, caused by Shell PLC and other oil companies operating in the region.

After spending much time in the court seeking for Justice which is yet to come , and the unfulfilled promises of the Nigerian government who promised to clean up the environment,, life has never been same to the people. They are facing the unfriendly effects of the oil devastation.

Down the region, is the ugly sight of devastated/abandoned farmlands where crops cannot grow, contaminated water and other pollution caused by the spill. The worst of it all is the people whose lives have been endangered by the spill.

During  interactions with some residents of Bodo, one of the big towns in the region, they cried out bitterly on how uneasy life has been to them since the devastation caused by the oil spill. Mr Barivura Gote, an elderly man in his late 70's, said: "Life hasn't been easy for us over here. Our people have been going through hardship mostly we the farmers who no longer have farmlands to grow our crops. Over there, is our stream where we fetch water for drinking, it is no longer good for consumption because it has been contaminated by the spill. We no longer find fish or any other sea food in it".

When asked how it has been to them on the aspect of health, he said: "Health...? We do not complain of that anymore because we are used to it. Apart from other things which you just witnessed around here, our health has been another major problem, our people, children die as a result of this oil spill which has polluted the environment, we contact different kinds of diseases mostly airborne diseases."

A view around the environment to see if there is any clean up process as said by the Federal government of Nigeria led by Muhammadu Buhari, shows no sign of devoted attempt to cleanup the environment. The devastated farmlands still lie abandoned with its glory lost. The streams in the villages look very critically bad with coloured liquid floating on them. The health of the residents very much at risk, life still remains unbearable to the people.

"This is exactly one of those things Ken Saro Wiwa was fighting for which made the then government of Nigeria to kill him. I always tell my people that as long as Nigeria is concern, Ogoni Land will remain this way, they will always deny us our rights and what rightful belong to us. Much oil is drilled from our land yet we suffer the most. Yes... We suffer and smile. I always find reasons to support our brothers in the Southeast who are agitating for Biafra, not only because of this alone but because Nigeria is no longer working, this is slavery, modern-day slavery. If they tell us not to agitate for Biafra with our brothers, what should we agitate for... One Nigeria which is not functioning? Never." The elderly man, Mr Barivura Gote said.

The promises made to the people by the government of Nigeria, have remained unfulfilled. The cleanup has been politicised and turned to the only political campaign promise always used by politicians and the government of Nigeria to seduce, gain support and votes from people in the region.

Edited by Peter Nonso
For Family Writers Press

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