Niger Delta environmental rights activist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade has urged the federal government of Nigeria to probe the reported pollution of the Forcados, Escravos and Gbaramatu Rivers in Delta State.
Comrade Mulade, also a community leader from the region, gave the charge at a press briefing on Tuesday in Warri, in a swift reaction to Shell’s denial of its involvement in the pollution of Niger Delta waters.
He said the call became necessary following Shell Petroleum Development Company’s denial of the allegations made by residents of Escravos communities, Ugborodo, Ogidigben and others who were allegedly affected by the discharge of wastes from SPDC’s Escravos Operations and the dangerous chemical used in its Well-73 Operations near Sokubolou, Yokiri and Obotebo communities both in Warri South-West and Burutu Local Government Areas of the state, thereby polluting the entire water.
He said rather than Shell seeking ways to remedy its action, it has retorted to face-saving lies and denials of the brazen and deliberate pollution of the people’s waterways, the main sources of their livelihood.
Chief Mulade asserted that Shell’s denial was capable of arousing tension and inciting violence and conflicts from the deprived communities. This he stressed should not be allowed to happen at a time when the world is grappling with COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ijaw traditional High Chief noted that the wellbeing of the environment must not be compromised due to its effects on the health of the people living in the area.
He charged multinational oil companies to desist from playing politics with environmental issues, and adopting divide and rule tactics in the process of remediating the environment. He added that residents of coastal communities suffer from environmental pollution leading to several health challenges, sometimes death.
Recall that indigenes of Ugborodo and Ogidigben communities had alleged that Shell massively polluted the Escravos River, thereby destroying fishing nets, aquatic lives and heightening poverty in their areas.
The renowned human and environmental rights activist has it was gathered has therefore, mobilised environmental experts and a team of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, an NGO, to Eacravos, Forcados and Gbaramatu Rivers, to ascertain the economic impacts of the pollution on fishermen and women in the creeks.