From Marcel Duru, Owerri
The communities of Oil Producing Areas in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Local government Areas of Imo State are demanding over N86billion from oil companies for compensation over environmental degradation or face quit order.
Speaing with DAILY ASSET in Asaa, Awarra Ohaji Egbema Local government area, Chief John Okereke, who identified himself as one of the community leaders in the area said that the Oil producing communities in Imo State have been polluted and degraded by the activities of Oil Companies operating in the area, which include Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron Oil Company, Agip, Adax and Walter Smith, which he alleged have caused unending neglect, suffered by Oil Producing communities.
He further disclosed that since their inception, the local communities where the oil was being drilled have suffered total neglect.
“People from these communities don’t even have access to basic necessities of life such as skill acquisition of Youth, portable drinking water, health centres, hospitals, good road network and modern structures in primary and secondary institutions in the areas.
Okereke also revealed that Oil companies have exposed their land to incessant flooding and landslide as a result of high degraded environment.
“If they fail to comply with our demand, within the stipulated time frame, we will give them an irrevocable quit order”, he stated.
Recently, the deputy governor of Imo State, Engr. Irona in a radio programme lambasted the Oil Companies in Ohaji-Egbema, Oguta Local government Areas, accusing them of causing the environmental degradation in the areas that exposed the communities to unending flood disaster any time there was heavy rainfall.
“The oil companies are the cause of incessant flooding in the oil communities and since the flood disaster in the areas, they have never come and show sympathy to any of the communities, it is a sheer wickedness” he told listeners.
The Deputy governor assured the people of Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Local government Areas that the State government will do everything possible to ameliorate their conditions in no distant time.