HOMEF uncovers life-threatening conditions at Delta gas flaring site
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has said it uncovered severe health conditions caused by gas flaring by oil firms at Iwhrekan community in Ughelli South Council of Delta State.
According to the Executive Director of HOMEF, Ken Henshaw, research on the community’s oil pollution problems uncovered life-threatening health conditions affecting respiratory systems and skin, as a result of endless gas flaring in the community within the OML 34 operational area.
The non-governmental organisation made the disclosure to the elders and people of Iwherekan community during a community diagnostic dialogue to address the pollution problems.
He said: “Sometime in November last year, we carried out intensive research on this community and other communities, basically to understanding the underlined natural resource issue of this community and specifically coming to terms with how natural resources extraction has affected the community of Iwhrekan.
“What we discovered here was devastating. We discovered, for example, that gas is flared here from four different points non-stop for 24hours. And gas flaring alone has a significant impact on the community here.
“For instance, gas flaring is known to have caused certain diseases of the skin, respiratory issue, there is an increased level of cough and other illnesses of the respiratory system, including asthma in this community.”
Speaking on behalf of Iwherekan community, Elder Victor Onokere said as a host community to ND Western, they suffered devastating effects of oil and gas pollution.
He said: “Today, if you come to our community, Iwhrekan, you will find out we have suffered so many things; our rivers are being polluted, our farms are being polluted, we can no longer plant cassava, common banana you can not find it in our community today.
“In all these, we have nothing to show. The government doesn’t recognise us, the company ND Western does not recognise us. Now we have no school, the only one, which is the technical school, is like a ghost yard with no equipment, and children are now running away to secondary school.”
A coordinator of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, disclosed that in 2005, the people of Iwhrekan took Shell to court and won the case at High Court in Benin City. He said despite the court declaration that gas flaring was illegal, it had continued unabated to date.