The Gas flaring by Mid Western Oil & Gas Company within the GRA Quarter Hospital Road, Kwale. Photo By Ndokwa Reporters
Residents of the Government Reserve Area (GRA) Hospital Road Kwale, numbering about Hundred of about seventy-two families, have cried out over the hazardous effects of Gas flaring within their residential quarters, saying that their lives were in great danger. According to the secretary of the GRA youths body Mr. Goodness Udoh, their predicament came in 2013, on the heels of the discovering of oil wells within their residential area by Mid-Western Oil & Gas Company, the operator of Umusadege Marginal Oil Field.
The youths secretary explained further that the Gas flaring right in their midst has brought several unbearable and adverse effects upon the residents such as heart discomfort through air pollution, contamination of drinking water, indiscriminate death of their economic farm trees and crops, death of poultry birds as well as constant high temperature. While addressing news men in Kwale Mr. Udoh said that the major street road in the quarter was constantly congested with the company’s heavy duty vehicles, especially tankers, adding that the residential quarter was no longer inhabitable for them as such, they need urgent re-location for safety of their lives. In other statements, he emphasized that the residents had adopted several peaceful means of bringing the attention of the company management to their unsafe living condition for immediate and possible solution, all to no avail. “We have complained to them so many times, which led us to the Department of Peoples Right of Delta State Ministry of Justice where the company management promised to come and discuss with us at home, uptill today, we have not seen them, as it stands now, we are dying, the environment is highly polluted and it is no longer inhabitable for us”.
The secretary to the residents of the area, Mr. Emeke Aghaneme in his version, raised alarm over imminent deaths among them, saying that no amount of financial compensation could be equated with their lives as the entire environment was already unsafe resulting from the industrial air pollution, water contamination which pose as death traps to them, he called for their immediate relocation by the company or the government. Another angry resident of the GRA, Mr. Ogwu Richard Obi in his separate remarks recalled that they had communicated their condition to the community, the Local Government Council, Delta State Government and the Police in Kwale. “The management of Mid-Western Oil & Gas has been adamant to our condition, we the residents of this GRA are Government workers and we don’t want to be violent even if the company pushes us to the wall”.
Mr. Richard Obi also alleged that their co-residents of the quarter, whose residential homes were acquired by the company, were shabbily compensated and re-located. He preferred the option of being re-located as the increasing industrial pollution remained great risk to their health and lives. A close investigation by this reporter showed that the residents were soaked in anger, begging for the immediate intervention of Delta State and Federal Governments for their urgent rescue, as they go several kilometers inside the town to buy drinking water owing to the total contamination of their sources of water. According to the investigation, the residents may soon choose the option of peaceful protest if no immediate attention is paid to their complaints. When contacted on phone for comments, a community liaising officer (CLO) of the company Mr. Animam Beneth was not disposed to respond, saying that the issue required the management attention.