Daily Trust (Abuja)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: Group Decries Worsening Environmental Challenges in Niger Delta

Lagos — A Niger Delta based group known as, "Izon Ikemi" has decried the worsening environmental situation in the region due to gas flaring and oil exploration.

In a statement signed by the group's Chairman Tony Uranta and General Secretary, Akpos Mezeh, respectively, the group lamented that more communities in the Niger Delta were bearing the brunt of oil and gas exploration while the international oil conglomerates responsible were being treated with kid gloves.

"Despite the federal government's numerous wrist-slaps on international oil companies, there is an urgent need to act against continued gas flaring and unchallenged oil spills in the Nıger Delta region. It is painful that no comprehensive or sustainable environment remediation action has taken place, not even in Ogoni-land, despite the UNEP Report recommending that urgent action should commence," the statement read.

And as part of measure to curtail the ravaging environment degradation, the group is demanding that the 13 percent derivation fund from the nation's purse be directly made available to the communities and not the state governors who were accused of squandering such funds. It however expressed sadness over the increasing rate of spills.

"The derivation funds currently paid to state government coffers should now be paid directly to communities suffering from the impact of oil spill. The oil and gas producing communities bear the brunt of exploration activities and are not properly taken care of with the funds by their states," a part of the statement read.

The group also expressed sadness over the quality of life of the people which it noted was declining at a faster rate. Other challenges the group claimed have worsened their lives include, lack of basic infrastructures such as roads, education, health care services, pipe borne water and electricity.

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