Rights group advocates probe of alleged toxic waste in Koko
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the Delta State government and National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to investigate the recent dumping of suspected toxic substances in Koko, Warri North Local Council of the state.
Its Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, told newsmen in Lagos that the act was becoming a recurring ecological onslaught on the people of the Niger Delta, perpetrated by multinationals and their Nigerian collaborators. The consequence, he noted, was destruction of arable land and aquatic life of the people.
Ojo recalled that in 1987, Italian businessmen, Gianfranco Raffaeli and Renato Pent of Ecomar and Jelly Wax signed an alleged illegal agreement with one Sunday Nana to use his property for the storage of 18,000 drums of hazardous waste for $100 monthly.
He noted that the sad incident led to the establishment of the defunct Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) by the administration of Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
Ojo, however, regretted that the unfortunate scenario was again playing in same community 30 years after. The rights organisation claimed that it had tested a sample of the soil alongside some famous researchers and the result was positive.
Meanwhile, experts in environmental matters have called for a declaration of a state of emergency in Koko, site of a controversial waste dump, and the prompt evacuation of its residents.
On a monitored television interview in Asaba, Nnimo Bassey and Tunde Imolaiye, renowned environmentalists, held that the saga about the current waste dump in Koko, was a sad reflection of the impunity with which some firms operate in the country, allegedly in gross violation of the relevant laws of the land.They stressed the need for a prompt evacuation of residents of the community and a comprehensive medical examination.
The experts lamented that given the high level of the water-bearing table in the area, there was a grave possibility that the waste could be harmful, and many have penetrated the water table and impaired the quality of the community’s water supply.
According to them, given the potential harmful effects to the waste, the need for a thorough professional examination of the waste for toxicity has become paramount.