Nigeria: Ebonyi Community Accuses Mining Company of Pollution, Demands N300 Million Compensation

23 September 2020

The community alleges that the company has been polluting their area for three years

Residents of Omege Agalegu village, Ndufu-Alike, in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State, on Wednesday raised alarm over what they described as the continuous pollution of their land and water source by a company operating in the area.

They alleged that the pollution of their land and water source has been going on for over three years.

According to them, no effort has been made by the said company to reverse the ugly trend.

This development has led to the poisoning of their major source of potable water, land, and the death of aquatic life within the environment.

The community stated this in a letter titled, 'Re: The Devastating Effect of Your Company's Waste Disposal on Our Land and Water Environment and Demand for Compensation'.

The letter was addressed to the director, First Patriot Nigeria Ltd, Ndufu-Alike-Ikwo and signed by the chairperson, Omege Development Union, Sunday Nwewor and secretary, Ogbonnaya Nweke.

The community lamented that the unwholesome activities of the company have brought untold hardship to the livelihood of the people.

"We have watched helplessly the destruction and devastation of our plants, animals, crops and economic livelihood, the degradation of our land and water environment caused by the waste discharged into our water through the company's activities of mineral exploration and exploration," the community wrote.

"The company through her numerous activities of improper discharge and deposition of waste into our river have destroyed our plants, economic trees, flora and other aquatic lives, thereby denying the people their fundamental right to enjoy their God-given natural resources," they added.

The community alleged that because of the environmental contamination of the land and water, it will take many years before the environment is useful and productive again.

"The action of the company is condemnable, absurd and an infringement to the community's fundamental right to live and utilise its natural resources."

They, therefore, demanded compensation to the tune of N300 million from the company within 30 days.

"We, the people of the community hereby demand immediate compensation for the damages, pains, trauma caused us by the company's waste disposal into our stream. We demand a compensation of N300 million."

"The compensation should be within 30 working days from the day of the receipt of this letter. We demand the company from today henceforth to stop polluting our land and water environment. We demand the company to build their own waste disposal facilities to avoid more damages to us", they said.

It was gathered that the community had engaged the legal services of E.E.Denis and Associates.

The lawyers have also written to the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the coordinator, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Ebonyi State Field Office, as part of measures to ensure quick dispensation of justice to the people of the community.

However, the project manager of First Patriot Nig. Ltd, Neelam Sada denied the allegations.

He explained that the owners of the land where the exploration work is taking place are not complaining of any ugly situation.

"Omege community is not within our area of operation. They didn't give us land directly and so, they are not our land owners. What they are claiming is not correct.

"Where the community is busy writing and claiming environmental hazard is almost five kilometres away from our operations base after our host community. Our host community doesn't have any complaint on any kind of effluent discharge or any damage", he said.

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