By Chris Awhawha, Warri
A group, the Niger Delta Initiative For Rural Communities Development on Monday appealed to the government, international organizations/community, and oil and gas companies to assist Polobubou and Opuama communities of Delta State on devastating floods.
The communities that are located in Egbema Kingdom, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State are seriously affected by flood.
The group’s Coordinator, Pumokumo Tiemo, said the communities are currently grappling with devastating flood crisis caused by extreme rainfall and sea water incursion, resulting from decades of oil exploration activities.
“The Polobubo and Opuama communities have long been integral to the economic sustenance and development of both Nigeria and Delta State. Hosting major International Oil Producing Companies (IOCs) and national oil and gas companies, including Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Nigerian Exploration and Production Limited (NEPL), Conoil Producing Ltd, and Sahara Energy Services Nigeria.
“The affected communities play crucial role in the supply of energy resources globally. However, the consequences of prolonged oil exploration have now manifested themselves in the form of severe flooding and sea water incursion, posing a substantial threat to the community’s well-being,” the group said.
Tiemo then implored the Federal Government to recognize the gravity of the situation and declare a national emergency in the communities to enable allocation of necessary resources and the coordination of efforts to respond promptly to the immediate and long-term needs of the affected residents.
He also charged the Delta State Government to collaborate with relevant agencies and organizations to provide essential relief materials, medical assistance, and infrastructure rehabilitation to alleviate the suffering of the community members in crisis.
The group further called on the Warri North Local Government Area to leverage its resources and work in close partnership with the community and other stakeholders to enhance relief efforts and facilitate the rehabilitation process.
“The international organizations and global community specializing in environmental and humanitarian issues, should lend their support and expertise in addressing this pressing crisis. Their involvement is vital in assessing the environmental impact and implementing sustainable solutions to mitigate future occurrences,” the group said.
Tiemo said oil and gas companies are key contributors to the environmental and flooding challenges faced by Polobubo and Opuoma communities.
“Therefore, we stress the importance of active participation and corporate social responsibility from the oil and gas companies operating in the area. We urge them to prioritize the needs of the community, join in the relief efforts, and actively engage in long-term rehabilitation projects to restore the well-being of the community and the ecosystem.
“We emphasize the urgent need for immediate and collective action to prevent further loss of lives and mitigate environmental damage caused by the devastating flood crisis. By responding promptly and effectively, we can demonstrate our commitment to preserving lives and fostering sustainable development in the Niger Delta region,” he said.
The group assured of its dedication towards supporting the communities during this challenging time by working tirelessly to rally necessary assistance and resources to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation.