• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Akwa Ibom wants end to gas flaring as clean up begins


Akwa Ibom State government wants gas flaring to be put to an end, as hopes of cleaning the oil region get brighter.

The commissioner of environment, Iniobong Essien, said without cutting out gas flaring, the clean up would amount to one step backward after a step forward.

Essien spoke with BusinessDay at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, and described gas flaring as an evil allowed by the Federal Government, the oil prospecting companies, and the international community, on the people of Niger Delta.

To him, more people have died in the region from gas flare-related diseases contracted and that the health of people were in danger as long as the gas was allowed to be flared.

The commissioner called on the Federal Government, the National Assembly and the United Nations to ensure that gas flaring was outlawed in the country, if the efforts to clean up the Niger Delta were to be achieved.

He also called on the new militants destroying the region to shield their sword and go for dialogue on how to bring about peace and development to the region.

He advised the Federal Government pursue the clean up of the region holistically, not just Ogoni. He said the Akwa Ibom State government and her people were happy that the long-expected clean up exercise had started in Ogoni land and environs, and hoped this included Akwa Ibom State and the entire Niger Delta.

Akwa Ibom people would appreciate a thorough clean-up exercise because of the magnitude of the devastation in the oil rich region, he said and warned that anything short of their expectation would be resisted.

Essien pointed out that the actions and activities of the oil companies and that of the militants have so far damaged the Niger Delta beyond words and that it would require a thorough and holistic approach to save the region, pointing out that the extent of damage now posses danger to the environment, the eco system, and the lives of the present generation and unborn ones.

Essien explained that the action of the militant groups has devastated the region, its waterways, the eco system as well as the lives of the people.

He said the President had demonstrated some good will by embarking on the clean up of the Ogoni land but that that gesture should be reciprocated by allowing peace to reign.

He equally expressed regrets over the actions of the oil prospecting companies for their failure to do what they were supposed to do Niger Delta but allow the people to live in abject poverty and to die.