Stakeholders accuse security agencies of  complicity on  Niger Delta environment pollution –

Niger Delta leaders accuse NASS  of plans to scuttle NDDC forensic audit

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rights activists and lawmakers have indicted law enforcement agencies for their involvement in the environmental pollution going on in the Niger Delta region.

They have also raised the alarm on the increasing rate of artisanal refining of petroleum products and deaths recorded from such illegal business.  The stakeholders spoke at a policy dialogue meeting on the theme: Artisanal refining: Strategies for addressing its environmental pollution in the Niger Delta and environs”, organized by the  National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday.  The activists, who included environmental experts, discovered that the major source of soot experienced in Port Harcourt and its environs was as a result of myriad of illegal refining activities across the Niger Delta region. 

Speaking at tye occasion , Chairman of Emohua Local Government Area and former leader, Rivers State House of Assembly, Chidi Lloyd, noted a decline in the activities of illegal oil refinery popularly called “kpofire”.

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Lloyd, who was the keynote speaker, said the decline  followed the marching order given by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, to the 23 council chairmen to curb the “kpofire” menace. He decried  the indiscriminate and disturbing involvement of security agencies in the kpofire business, alleging that some law enforcement agents lobby to be posted to Rivers State because of artisanal refining activities. 

The Emohua council boss said it was unheard of, that a security agent, who was saddled with the responsibility for fighting vandalism, eventually turned to be a vandal.  

Also speaking, Ken Henshaw, decried the disturbing scourge of soot which has reduced the life span of people living in the state, particularly in Ogoniland where environmental pollution was of high magnitude.

Henshaw stated: “More recently, the government of Rivers State set up a committee to look into soot scourge. And it noticed that the soot has increased the respiratory and cancer cases in Rivers State. And the report of the committee said there was over 27,000 cases of respiratory illness in five years in Rivers State traceable to hydrocarbon soot.  “The soot is specifically comes as a formal compounding of the problems of an already devastated ecology of Niger Delta region. 

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