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Body Demands Environmental Justice For N’Delta

A group known as Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has advocated for environmental justice in the Niger Delta to alleviate the suffering of the people as a result of environmental pollution and other oil related hazards .
Executive Director of the group, Auwal Ibrahim Musa who spoke with The Tide in an interview in Port Harcourt recently, said the issue of environmental pollution in the Niger Delta has assumed alarming rate, yet to get deserving attention.
He pointed out that an average of 240,000 barrels of crude oil are spilled in the Niger Delta region yearly, resulting in further displacement of the natural means of livelihood of the people.
He said the oil spills which are mostly caused by oil exploratory activities led to 60 per cent reduction in household food security and reduced the ascorbic acid content of vegetables by as much as 36 per cent and the crude protein content of cassava by. 40 percent, which could result in a 24percent increase in the prevalence of childhood malnutrition.
He pointed out that oil spills have grave health implications as “Evidence continues to accumulate suggesting that environmental exposures adversely impact human reproductive function. Chemical exposures in the work place, homes, farms and ambient environment have demonstrated effects on women’s reproductive health and concerns have been raised about a broad spectrum of factors that affect women health including social, biological and physical environment.”.
Musa noted that although each year, 100s of post -impact assessment (PIA) studies are conducted to assess the impact of the hazards generated by the oil industry on the physical and social environment and human health, most of these studies are conducted without any significant contributions by health professionals and are reported without highlighting the immediate and long term implications of the identified hazards on the health of members of the impacted communities.
He recommended effective environmental governance in the Niger Delta, stating that it is only through such process that laws, policies and procedures would be implemented to achieve a healthy and sustainable environment in the region.
“It is through good environmental governance that the key stakeholders (government, oil companies, local communities) will be able to perform their roles to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment, it is through good governance that we will be able to eliminate conflict and environmental entrepreneurs who feed on the crisis in the Niger Delta.”
The Executive Director also urged Journalists and other related NGOs to be proactive in raising awareness on environmental justice to promote a healthy and sustainable environment in the Niger Delta,” he said.

-Tide

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