Media Group Blasts U.S. Over Diseases In Nigeria
*JODEL is a media group concerned with the affairs of Nigeria's oil and gas region.It has as its Co-ordinator, Mr. Akanimo Sampson,who is also the Port Harcourt Bureau Chief of Daily Independent, a private newspaper published in Lagos.
A media group, Journalists for Niger Delta (JODEL), has taken on America, blaming the United States (US) for the alleged worsening disease conditions in Nigeria.
“The US has warned its citizens to stay away from 16 Nigerian states in fear of an epidemic. JODEL said among the states listed by Washington are the oil-producing states of Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo and Ondo. The others are Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau.
Although the Nigerian medical community has disputed the US claim, the media group however, alleged that America was largely responsible for the disease condition in Nigeria’s oil and gas region.
JODEL’s Political Outreach Officer, Mr. Ita Etim, claimed in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, that US oil companies and others, in which Americans have huge investments, are increasing adverse pressures upon the environment of Nigeria’s oil and gas region.
They however, reminded Washington of the 1995 World Bank Report which claimed that the Niger Delta was at risk because of its low elevation. “The report clearly pointed out that a one meter rise in sea level would flood 18,000 km2 of Nigeria severely disrupting the oil and gas industry, forcing up to 80 per cent of the delta’s population to relocate, in addition to destroying much agricultural land, forests and fisheries”, the group said.
Continuing, they added, “the oil industry has a significantly adverse environmental impact upon the human environment of the Niger Delta. The activities of American oil corporations do not only exacerbate other environmental problems in Nigeria, but create adverse health problems which are worse than they need be because the industry as a whole is corrupt, careless and clearly does not operate to the standards, which are exacted elsewhere in the world.”
“The US has demonstrated by this latest scare that they are ignorant that the environmental situation in Nigeria is largely influenced by external pressures. We are convinced that America is unaware that the Fresh and Brackish-water ecozones of the Niger Delta are the last terrestial sink for the drainage of much of Nigeria and a very large chunk of West Africa”, they said.
According to JODEL, “the industrial effluent of Kaduna, Onitsha (Anambra State) and all the other cities in the Niger/Benue river basin end up in, or at least pass through, the Niger Delta. Plastic bags, in particular, are becoming a usual part of the sediment load.”
The Department of Health and immigration authorities in the US last week issued this controversial travel advisory to diplomats, employees of government agencies and businessmen to beware of the possibility of contracting diseases while visiting the 16 Nigerian States, including those of the oil region.
Meanwhile, the media group has warned the US to stop raising unnecessary scare about Nigeria, claiming that socio-economic and political conditions there are not “too good”, adding “the US is yet to deal with its problem of domestic terrorism and electoral fraud.”