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Highlight: Farms/Farmlands, Trees/shrubs, general vegetation and air impacted
Location: Otuasega environment, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State
GPS Coordinate: Elev 12m N04 °55.322’ E006 °21.387’ [first road block, from Edepie axis], Elev:-6m N 04°53.835’ E006°21.747’ [2nd road block, at the Otuasega axis], Elev: 3m N04°54.194’ E006°21.490’ [taken at the Manifold environment, spill site].
Occupation: Fishing, farming, etc.
Photo: Oil Boom and Sheen of spilled crude oil on plantain leaves around the manifold
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth International (ERA/FoEN]) received information from community people about an oil spill from Shell’s Kolo Creek Tie-in Manifold and promptly notified the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Iniruo Wills who quickly organised a team of relevant officers of his ministry and personally led the team to the spill site. ERA/FoEN was part of the visiting team and captured the frustrations of the people and observations concerning the current oil spill.
Soon after information got to ERA/FoEN, attempts were made to confirm the incident. Calls were made to contacts at Otuasega but the community people said they were not aware. A ERA/FoEN volunteer at Imiringi, Pastor Ranami Afagha was also reached via telephone and, although he said he passed the manifold area about 7:00PM on Tuesday [back to Imiringi] did not notice any oil spill. He however volunteered to rush to the scene to confirm. Minutes after, Afagha confirmed the incident noting that there was actually a fresh oil spill at the manifold environment. It was then that ERA/FoEN field monitors moved to ascertain the situation. ERA/FoEN was not allowed beyond the road blocks from both ends by soldiers thus confirming something was amiss. ERA/FoEN subsequently alerted relevant groups after asking Pastor Ranami Afagha to get details of what he saw when he visited the site much earlier.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH AFRICA GROUPS PUSHBACK ON EXTRACTIVE ACTIVITIES, LAND GRABS IN AFRICA
Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEA) groups have decried the impact of extractive companies’ operations across the African region, cautioning that if communities are not adequately empowered to advocate for and defend their rights, more of them will be displaced leading to conflicts.
The groups made the call during a solidarity mission to oil host communities in Bunyoro sub-region (Albertine Region, Uganda) currently grappling with the challenges associated with the developing oil industry in the country. Participants in the solidarity visit were Friends of the Earth International, FoEA member groups from Uganda, Nigeria, Togo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Tunisia and South Africa. Community representatives in Uganda affected by unsustainable development projects were also part of the team. The FoEA team was particularly concerned that residents of Kabale parish who have been asked by government to vacate the place to pave way for the oil refinery have received inadequate or no compensation at all for their lost properties.
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The theme of the World Environment Day 2013 is “Think. Eat. Save”. Each word is loaded and stands alone, separated by unambiguous periods. That should get us thinking indeed. Many people in the world do not really think before eating. They are more preoccupied by the nagging question of where the next meal would come from. There are also a number of persons whose questions pertain to what to eat out of the myriad of choices on their sumptuous dining tables. And, of course, there are people to whom saving food is not a problem while to yet others there is simply no choice in doing that. There are others who wish to save but cannot do so either due to a lack of means to do so, or for the reason of current insufficiencies.
There is a lot of food for thought in just considering the theme.