Lawmakers denounce the harm that oil corporations’ operations cause to Akwa Ibom communities.
Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly have condemned the negative impacts of the activities of oil prospecting firms on communities in 13 local government areas in the state.
The affected communities are in Mkpat-Enin, Etinan, Nsit Ibom, Nsit Ubium, Etim Ekpo, Orue Offong/Oruko, Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi, Oruk Anam, Esit Eket, Eket, and Onna local government areas.
Speaking at plenary, Uduakobong Ekpo-Ufot, who represents Etinan constituency, said the activities of the oil companies have led to environmental degradation in the communities.
While presenting a bill entitled ‘Flagrant Disregard for Labour Laws, Destruction of Economic Crops, Properties, and Underground Water by Geo-Seismic Survey Limited’, the lawmaker narrated that prospecting firms contracted by Sterling Oil Limited to perform pre-exploration seismic surveys in areas covered by OML 13 are drilling boreholes up to 35 meters to bury dynamites and other data recording devices.
Ekpo-Ufot added that the firms are detonating the dynamites in the course of the seismic survey.
He told the House that the firms’ activities have resulted in cracked buildings and pollution of underground water, with boreholes in the affected communities now pumping brown water.
Ekpo-Ufot also disclosed that the oil companies’ activities have also led to the destruction of fish ponds, economic crops, and farmlands, adding that members of the communities who protested against the development were beaten up by security agents attached to the firms.
The Deputy Leader of the House and member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Otobong Bob, also expressed concern over the activities of the oil companies.
He urged the House and its relevant committees to swiftly intervene on the matter in the interest of the state.
“The plight of our people should not be taken for granted. As much as we want our communities to be oil-bearing communities, the right thing needs to be done.
“This House should rise up and cause the relevant committees to look into this particular issue,” he said.