Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC’s toxic wastes dumped in Umu-EzeAkpor land in Mgbede Community, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State is threatening the health and agricultural lives of the people. Agip has however maintain a silent position over the development despite moves from the community and the Rivers State Ministry of Environment to compel it to remove the toxic dumps. It was gathered that Agip had reportedly converted a portion of land belonging to the said Umu-EzeAkpor family to its toxic waste dump site leaving heaps of cutting stones and contaminated sands evacuated from oil spill sites in the area.
In a document, the Ministry of Environment in the state following a petition from the family had conducted a joint inspection of the area on the 13th of August, 2013 to the area and found that the firm polluted the said farmland and had called for remediation. Speaking for the family, Pastor Evaristus Nicholas said the development started over 30 years ago and that the wastes cover over 28 plots of land belong to the Umu-EzeAkpor family. Nicholas, who is the leader of Egbema Voice of Freedom, EVF, said efforts have been made to reach Agip to see how to meet with the concern community members to clean up the farm land so it be put in it’s original use, but regretted that it has remained futile. He said that the wastes poses health risks to the people of the area, adding that the people can no longer use their land for agricultural purpose.
Nicholas said: “The state regulator, Rivers State Ministry of Environment has gone to that site more than 15 years ago along side Agip and community members to see things and have written a report saying that they saw toxic chemicals on that site. “The state regulator went further to invite NAOC/ENI to a meeting with the community members and asked NAOC/ENI to pay the members of the community N5 million then, but NAOC/ENI refused to pay and refused to clean up rather each passing day there is oil spill on another site they remove the sand and transfer it to this land there by degrading the farm land the more. Regrettably, because the people do not have another farm land they keep planting crops on the same land and they eat this produce some die because of the chemical effect on the produce. We are calling on the world to ask Naoc/Eni to stop this Environmental genocide they’re committing against our people.” However, when contacted, the Head of the Team interfacing with Umu-EzeAkpor, Chris Eke, declined comment on the development.