Thursday 13 July 2017

We want fish not oil, Rivers community cries out

Image result for okrika pollution

Residents and fishermen in Okirika Waterfront community in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, have cried out that they want an end to oil exploration in the area.
They noted that instead of the continued suffering and pains experienced as a result of their polluted environment, they would rather the government stopped oil extraction and concentrate on fisheries.
The fishermen stated this yesterday during a community dialogue fishnet organised for fishermen by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMFEF).
The community fishnet dialogue was aimed at gathering the fishermen, provide space for coastal and non coastal community members to review environmental situation of their communities and identify needed areas of action to preserve and defend their heritage.
During the exercise, participants noted that it is preferable for the oil to be left in the soil while the Federal Government concentrate on generating revenue from fisheries as in some developed countries.
A fisherman, Mr Albert Daka,  who spoke with The Nation, said  artisanal refinery and dust poured daily in the sea caused a huge challenge to them, stressing that the ugly activities going on in the sea made the fishermen poor.
Daka said: “What is disturbing us in this part of the state is this bush refinery. When a fisherman goes to the sea, he hardly catches fish; even the fish to use for myself and family I can hardly catch as a result of the bush refinery and the dust in the sea.
“So this bush refinery is making the fisherman to be poor. Today, a fisherman cannot train his children, he cannot feed well. I can say, two days ago I went to the sea and I could not catch fish to prepare even pepper soup because of the pollution in the water.”
Director of HOMEF Nnimmo Bassey noted that the purpose for the fishnet dialogue was to discuss with the community the impact of oil extraction on fisheries.
Bassey said: “We are having what we call Fish Net Dialogue, which is a community dialogue concerning fish at the impact of oil extraction on fisheries. Is a situation where communities sit down to discuss issues concerning the environment, how their water bodies, the creeks were in the past and now.

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