The protesting Koluama youths, led by its President, Mr. Emmanuel Philip, came all the way from their community to vent their grievances to Mr. Frank Otele, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas.
They said they were irked by the insensitivity of some international oil companies operating in their domains whose activities have degraded their environment following oil spills.
They, therefore, gave the IOCs a seven-day ultimatum to vacate or be shut down over the oil spill that has yet to be remediated.
They brandished placards with inscriptions such as: ‘our parents cannot fish and farm in our communities’, ‘We need relief materials now!’, *“Please, save our community from pollution’*, *‘our fishes are dying, our waters are polluted’*, *‘ Government, please help us now before we die’*, *‘Oil companies, please clean up Koluama waters’*, among others.
Philip, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said from their observation over the years, they had learnt that the oil companies were only interested in their operations and did not care about the environment they operate in and the welfare of the people.
He said most times when crude oil spills occur in their environment, the IOCs take ages to carry out clean up and before that was done, their waters and fishes would have been contaminated.
He contended that oil spills had become a recurring decimal in their communities without corresponding actions to do the needful for the people.
Philip said that as responsible youths, they decided to run to the government to intervene in their misery before they resorted to doing some untoward things which might threaten the peace in the state.
He insisted that the IOCs should vacate for their failure to clean up their waterways, saying that the development had destroyed aquatic lives in their communities.
Addressing the youths, the SA to Governor on Oil and Gas, Mr. Frank Otele, called for calm, saying that their complaints had been heard.
He promised them that the government would look into the matter and interface with the relevant oil firms to ensure that the proper things are done.
He assured the protesting youths of the state government’s readiness to the welfare and wellbeing of the people.