A prominet Niger Delta environmentalist, Chief Sheriff Mulade has faulted the pollution and degradation of the Niger Delta environment through gas flaring and other oil activities in the region, and stressed the need for the remediation of the environment.
Comrade Mulade who is the Chief Executive Officer of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, a foremost environmental sustainability advocating organisation, noted that the Niger Delta Region has contributed immensely to the economy and wealth of the Nation as a result of the enormous oil production activities in the region.
He, however, lamented that despite the high oil production in states such as Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Cross Rivers, oil pollution and reduced life span are the prices that the oil rich region has to pay for feeding the nation.
Chief Mulade who is also the Ibe-Seremowei of ancient Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West LGA of Delta State, noted that the Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, accounting for about 95% of the export earnings, and 40% of government revenue, according to the International Monetary Fund, IMF. He added that the revenue generated from the Niger Delta is used practically to run the country's economy.
He said "it is no more news that the exploration and exploitation activities of oil companies in the region have degraded and devastated the environment at an alarming rate, so much so that life expectancy in the Niger Deltan Region has been reduced due to health hazards from the polluted environment."
He noted further that "oil pollution has destroyed the environment and the traditional occupation of the people, leading to high rates of poverty unemployment, criminality and violence in the Niger Delta Region." He said "this morbid situation has been worsened by the poor environmental practices of the IOCs, (international oil companies) and the failure of Government Agencies to hold them accountable."
The environmentalist asserted that the people have resorted to self help by engaging in pipeline vandalism, illegal refining of crude oil, illegal oil bunkering, destruction of forests, militancy and other forms of violence as a result of perennial environmental pollution and degradation. He then proffered solution to the the sad violation of the region by stressing that the oil multinationals and the Federal Government must interface and make aggressive efforts to increase the standard of environmental practices by the oil companies in the region."
He, however, warned the IOCs to adhere strictly to environmental sustainability practices and equally urged the locals in the region to stop all acts of violence and vandalism that can lead to the continues pollution of the environment, adding that the Niger Delta is their economic base that must be protected at all times.