Ebonyi community protests against pollution of land, water by miners


By Kelechi Nwoba

Indigenes of Omege Agalegu Village, Ndufu-Alike, in Ikwo council area of Ebonyi State have decried the continuous pollution of their land and water by the Company operating in the Area.

The people complained that, the pollution of their land and water has been ongoing for over three years as no effort was made by the said Company or State Government to reverse the situation.

The said, the pollution of their environment has led to poisoning of their major source of portable water, land and death of aquatic lives within the area.

Their protest letter captioned: “Re: The Devastating Effect of Your Company’s Waste Disposal on Our Land and Water Environment and Demand for Compensation” addressed to the Director, First Patriot Nigeria Ltd, Ndufu-Alike-Ikwo and signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Omege Development Union, Sunday Nwewor and Ogbonnaya Nweke, respectively, the  members of the affected Community explained how the unwholesome activities of the said Company had brought untold hardship on the likelihood of the people.

Reacting, the Project Manager of First Patriot Nig. Ltd, Mr. Neelam Sada explained that the immediate land owners where 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 5kms 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.”

According to the Community, “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.

Part of the letter read: “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 acquatic lives, thereby denying the people their fundamental right to enjoy their God-given natural resources.

“The Company should know that because of the environmental contamination of the land and water, it will take many years before the environment will be useful and productive again.

“The action of the Company is condemnable, absurd and an infringement to the Community’s fundamental right to live and utilize its natural resources.

“We, the people of the Community hereby demand an immediate compensation for the damages, pains, truama caused us by the Company’s waste disposal into our stream. We demand a compensation of N300, 000, 000 million naira.

“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.”

Meanwhile, some of the community members, Nweke Nworie, Uche Uguru, Ekuma Chukwudi, Monday Nwanchor, Nweke Christopher, Umanyi Rosemary among others told journalists that they are no longer comfortable with the situation and called for government intervention.

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