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WHO, UNEP investigate cause of soot in Rivers

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Officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) have commenced investigation into the cause of widespread soot in Rivers State.

Leader of the UN Delegation to Rivers State, Charles Ekong, from WHO Brazaville, Congo, disclosed its mission at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.

He said the investigation was necessary to find a lasting solution to the challenge posed by the soot.

Other members of the delegation are UNEP environmental expert, BR Ravishankar, Dr. Luka Ibrahim of WHO Nigeria, and Pier Mudu from the WHO headquarters.

Governor Nyesom Wike said he has directed the Attorney General of the state to sue the Federal Government and international oil companies in the state for environmental pollution.

Wike alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government deliberately planned the soot to eliminate a greater percentage of the state’s population.

He said he was grateful to “God that the UN has responded to the issues the state raised about the environmental pollution in the state.

“If we must move on, the cause of the soot must be investigated. It was not caused by the Rivers State government, as it has no company dealing in crude, but by the federal agencies as a political strategy.”

Wike lamented that the Federal Government had failed to act, despite that he had implored the security agencies to find more refined ways of destroying the illegal refineries in the state.

He warned that if the soot was not addressed quickly, it could cause the people to suffer health hazards, which would lead to their untimely deaths.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, has raised the alarm over the rate of collapsed boreholes in the country.

Fayemi expressed the concern in Calabar at a seven-day training for stakeholders on Groundwater Development, Water Well Drilling in Soft Rock Environment.

He said: “These issues have led to many abortive boreholes and huge loss of resources by the government and communities.”

The Federal Mines Officer in Cross River State, Mr. Okhuoya Onah represented him.

The minister said the training was timely because of the many borehole companies that “drill without recourse to laid-down procedures, rules and regulations.”

The President of the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientist Society (COMEG), Prof. Silas Dada, warned against quacks in the water drilling industry.

Also, COMEG Programme Engineer, Titilope Adeyemo, confirmed that some water wells in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Lagos have collapsed due to poor drilling.


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