Warri NPA Waterside: Where Poverty and Pollution Reigns Supreme
…Residents call for state government intervention
By Fejiro Jimitota || Photographs by Daniel Jejelaye
It is pedestrian information that the Oil communities in Delta state are richly blessed with natural resources. What is however newsy is that the people are blessed with abundant resources, yet, they enjoy nothing. They suffer what economists tagged ‘Island poverty’, which simply means poverty in the midst of plenty.
This awareness recently came to the fore during a fact finding mission embarked by a team of correspondents and researchers from GbaramatuVoice, a leading multimedia organization based in Warri, the economic life wire of Delta state, to NPA waterside and Sandfill 2 (Warri Corner), two different locations in Warri South and South West Local Government Areas of the state.
For a better understanding of the piece, Warri forms part of Niger Delta region. Right from the moment oil was discovered in commercial quantity in the area, the region according to reports, have encountered a fierce war that raged between ethnic and social forces-and as a direct consequence, a long dark shadow has been cast on the efforts to improve the well-being and economic development of the region’s individual, peoples and community. Their right to a clean environment and access to clean water supplies have been violated.
This challenge was further fed by a double fold factor; the concentration of solution resulting from exploration and production activities in a mono source and the Federal Government timidity to hold the International Oil Companies (IOCs) accountable for their misdeeds. This is made a horrifying development in parts because they were so contrary to what the people of the region expected.
On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, our visit to NPA waterside, Warri South Local Government Area have shown that the resident of the area are not insulated from this inhuman challenge. Our investigation glaringly revealed that they daily suffer not just pollution from crude oil exploration and production in the area but another acute type resulting from refuse dumping into the rivers by yet to be identified persons.
Those who spoke to GbaramatuVoice, on Wednesday August 24, 2022, appealed for government intervention to address this nagging challenge. They were particularly not happy about the state Ministry of environment failures to monitor and enforce laws to arrest the situation.
On their part, residents of Sandfill2 communities Warri South West local Government Area of the city complained to GbaramatuVoice team of similar challenge.
Quoting a resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “Looking at the current pollution challenge in our environment, we are afraid of possible outbreak of pollution related disease. And such fears cannot be described as unfounded as we have suffered similar fate in the past.”
The community therefore called on the Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa led Delta state government and other relevant authorities to come to their rescue.
However, that was not the only challenge recorded by the GbaramatuVoice who were on a fact finding mission. Going by recorded commentaries, it was evident that there exists brazen existence of poverty and economic deprivations with the visited locality and women are most affected under this condition.
Also speaking to GbaramatuVoice, Mrs Ebiere Omoteweve, a commercial canoe operator in the NPA area, lamented the precarious economic situation they face. She therefore, appealed for government financial support to better her life.
Omoteweve said: “I want the government to support me so that I can start a better business, I am suffering, this commercial canoe business which she called over over in local language is not helping me enough.”
On her part, Mrs Kuwekuwe-ere, another commercial canoe operator, disclosed to the fact finders the pain and suffering they women in the community pass through on daily basis.
She said: “Every day we carry people to and fro across the river. It is not easy. we get body pain’s at the end of the day. Government should help us with money to start good business. The money from this commercial canoe business is never enough for us.
“We need good water. We use this dirty water from the river to cook and bath. We put alum inside to make it clean for use.
To authenticate this litany of complain by these women, Mr Gweke Philip, a teacher and resident of Sandfill2 community, said; “Seeing the hardship, these people go through every day to put food on their table. The condition of water, taking away these people fish entrepreneurship and making things expensive for them. They now have to buy fish from others.”
Looking at this level of harsh economic situation and risks these women are daily exposed to, it becomes imperative for the state government to intervene. The Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa led government must do something to save and serve these teaming vulnerable women.
Samuel Ebikeme Abai contributed reporting
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