A group under the auspices of Akwa Ibom Oil Community Development Network has raised a four-man committee to investigate the extent to which the ongoing gas flaring by oil companies has impacted on the environment of their host communities in Akwa Ibom State.
This is as it threatens to drag all the oil companies involved in the action to court in the state.
The group in a statement jointly signed by it President-General, Uffot Phenson, and Secretary, Emmanuel Bassey, on Monday, listed members of the committee to include Mr Idongesit Edo as chairman, and Mrs Anieka Ekong, secretary, while Mr Isaac Udobia and Pastor Joseph Israel would serve as members.
While noting that cases against the affected oil companies are still pending in the supreme Court, the group threatened to file fresh cases against Universal Energy Resources/SINOPEC, Frontier Savannah and others.
The statement read in part, “In order to achieve these objectives, the organisation has set up a four-man investigating committee to investigate and come up with the full report of the negative and dangerous impact of the ongoing gas flaring as it affects the people of Akwa Ibom State and their environs.”
While lamenting the impact of frequent gas flaring without payment of compensation and/or remediation, the group said failure to stop the menace of gas glaring and carry out immediate remediation would deny the affected communities access to basic necessities of water, food, clean and safe environment.
The statement added, “Gas flaring has unleashed acid rain resulting in fast corrosion of metallic materials/other structural objects in the company’s host communities of Ibeno, Esit-Eket, Onna, Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Oron, Mbo Urue Offong/Oruko and Ikot Abasi as well as other adjoining local government areas.
“This has affected roofing sheets; acidification of soil, causing poor crops yields, disruption of the ecosystem, contamination of sea food, rain water as alternative source of drinking water, pollution of other water bodies, increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and human rights abuses
“Other dangerous effects of the ongoing gas flaring include paralysing of farming and fishing businesses resulting in the loss of jobs and daily incomes. It has also led to displacement of indigenous swamp species and pose a great threat to the sustainability of aquatic farming and environment which the livelihood of the people depends greatly on.
“Failure to stop the ongoing gas flaring as well as taking steps to ameliorate the negative impact on the environment, aquatic life, vegetation, human health and secured means of livelihood has denied the people access necessity of water, food, clean environment which is a violation of the Fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended, African Charter on the human and people’s rights” the statement said.