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Kolo Creek Pollution

Kolo Creek Pollution: Call Daewoo to order, ERA tells FG

Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

Niger Delta: Fresh Tension Over Kolo Creek Pollution

Communities, Activists Tackle Daewoo, Warn Government

WITH growing uncertainties over the worsening health condition of President Umaru Yar'Adua of Nigeria, coastal communities in the Delta State axis of the Niger Delta, a major oil and gas region, are on the boil over the Kolo Creek pollution.

The environmental authorities do not appear to be doing much to calm the nerves of the local people. Activists say the disaster could trigger off a new wave of communal disturbances in an oil region that has been a zone of low intensity war sine 2005.

And, as an epidemic may soon sweep across thirteen riverine communities in Bayelsa State unless multinational company –Daewoo, is compelled to halt a gas pipeline project for Shell which led to the blocking of the Kolo Creek and stagnation of water that was supposed to flow downstream, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has alerted.

Communities worst affected upstream of the Kolo Creek include Oruma, Ebelebiri, Otuegwe II, Otuasega. Seven other communities in the downstream have also been denied water from the creek due to the project. They include Emeyal I, Emeyal II, Kolo I, Kolo II, Kolo III, Otuakeme, Otuabagi, and Otuogidi.

ERA/FoEN’s alert is coming on the heels of investigations that confirmed that Daewoo has continued to ignore the appeal of the communities that are now forced to bath and drink the compromised water. Following the blocking of the creek, in the last two weeks, the incidence of diarrhea has increased among children in the affected communities with more children admitted in hospitals than has ever been recorded in the history of the communities.

The Shell project, contracted to Daewoo, entails the laying of pipes from Kolo Creek in Bayelsa, to Soku in Rivers State, and forms part of the multi-million dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

ERA/FoEN, in a statement issued in Lagos, said the blocking of the Creek by Daewoo even when it is clear that there is no other alternative source of drinking water and livelihood for the upstream communities is “totally objectionable”.

“The way Daewoo has carried on with this project is a violation of the rights of the people to life and AN indication that it has deliberately ignored a proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which would have indicated the far-reaching impacts of the project on the people” said ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey.

ERA findings confirmed that apart from the stagnation of the water, heavy equipment of the company were used to dig through the creek, using the mud to dam the creek to facilitate their work.

Bassey insisted that: “It is not in any way justifiable for the rights of a people to
be violated by multinational corporations in the name of projects that ultimately do not add any tangible gains to their lives. Developments must add value. Destructive developments are unacceptable.ERA also rejects the militarization of the community and the entire Niger Delta for the protection of oil projects. Peace is guaranteed when the rights of people are respected. Daewoo must halt this outrageous method of project execution.”

ENDS

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