Sunday, March 11, 2012

Niger Delta on brink of extinction

Guardian News
8 March 2012

Editor Opinion

THE World Bank report warning that 40 per cent of habitable terrain in the Niger Delta area will disappear in 20 years is alarming but hardly surprising in the light of the many failures of policy in the region. The plight of communities in the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta has not been adequately addressed. If anything, the latest report ought to serve as a reminder of government’s abdication of a business requiring serious attention. Certainly, the World Bank report should not be glossed over as just another inconsequential score sheet.


In its report, the World Bank claimed that the palm groves, shorelines, creeks and other habitable areas will be washed away by erosion as well as spills due to vandalism, system failure and crude oil theft. The Federal Government that is in joint venture partnerships with the prospecting oil companies has admitted that 40,000 oil spills have occurred in the past 50 years of oil exploration. Ogoniland is one of the worst affected areas. Everywhere, there are signs of untouched or half-hearted cleaning jobs. The water, the fish, the air, the mangrove ecosystem have all been disastrously affected so that it will need wide-ranging and long-term effort to clean up the place. Although Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has said that a considerable number of the spills in the Niger Delta were caused by oil thieves and saboteurs, it cannot be denied that the overall story of neglect and despoilment is harrowing. Of recent, the advent of thousands of illegal refineries has compounded the problem of pollution in the area

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