Gas Pollution: Sagana Community Cries Out
Not in my wildest imagination did I think anything or anyone could possibly interrupt my concentration, as I was working on a report I had to complete and submit by Friday. Of course, the Television had been on, but little did I realize that, until I heard the news headline- “Sagana Community Cries out to the Federal Government for Intervention”. Thankfully, I was quick enough to grab a pen and notepad to take down some vital points which I pieced together thus: It is the 24th day since the news of the Chevron gas explosion was first reported, yet no official statement has been made by Chevron. As a result of the Chevron facility explosion of January 16th 2012, fire has continued to burn on the high sea around the Southern Ijaw and Brass Council areas of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Tales of woes have continued to pour out from the affected communities (especially Sangana and Koloma) as they are already feeling the devastating and poisonous environmental impacts that continue to trail the explosion. People living in the affected communities are crying out to the federal government of Nigeria for Intervention. Since the explosion, no effort has been made to stem the tide of the impacts by Chevron or the concerned Authorities; just as the pollution continues unabated. Human and aquatic lives in the area have been affected, as it is no longer well with the environment. The impact of the attendant atmospheric pollution is evidenced by dying aquatic life (as dead fishes have continued to float,) lost livelihoods (farming, fishing and trading of seafood), many who are taking ill and no safe water to drink. The people have continued to complain of strange and toxic smells, they are yet to be evacuated and have been left to their fate.
As the report ended I could not but ask the following questions: For how long more will the people be left to their fate? Why must a hapless majority continue to bear the brunt of the injustices associated with the careless activities of a privileged few? Why would oil rich communities in Nigeria continue to suffer the consequences of the problems they did not create? How long will the people remain refugees in their own lands? How long will they remain homeless, landless and neglected? Will help ever come to them? Is this just another case of man’s inhumanity to man? Will the tales of woe that has become the lot of the Niger Deltans ever end? Is anyone listening to their cries for justice equity and fairness? Should the cries of the Niger Delta people remain unheard? How could one of the best endowed regions of Nigeria and even the world, in terms of natural resources, biodiversity, and population densities, remain one of poorest and most threatened regions?
My heart especially goes out to the women in the communities, because, as is typical of such crisis situations, they would be the worst affected. As wives and mothers, they would have to grapple with attending to their own needs (emotional, health, domestic and financial) as well as those of their husbands, children and relations. I also join faith with the women and their communities, in hope that help is not too far off.