Niger Delta communities lament oil spillages, hail foundation's intervention

Three communities in the Niger Delta region, Abacheke, Ugada and Etwkuru, all of Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, have complained about shortage of food due to decimation of their farmlands by oil spillages.

The communites expressed that several oil spillages from the activities of oil companies operating in their area had spawned poor harvest.

The communities opened up when a group, the Foundation for Youth Development in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme inaugurated a remediation process of the farmlands in the three parts of the region.

Mrs Chinyere Ohamara, a resident of the area, who hailed the intervention, told Southern City News that their farmlands could no longer produce as a result of oil pollution.

Mrs Ohamara expressed happiness that the foundation had come to help in cleaning up the place and giving them improved crops. She stated Oil spill destroyed the whole of our farmlands and water. Since spills started in this area, if we work our farms no longer produce well. Anything we plant is not producing.

She further stated We are happy that they have come to give us improved crops. There has been hunger, hence we could no longer farm. But now, we are happy that FYD has come to give us hope.

Uma Ugochukwu, the Abacheke youths secretary in Total E&P said, Oil spill has really dealt with us. Our crops can no more bear fruits because of the activies and attitude of oil companies operating here.

In his remarks, the founder of FYD, Chief Chibudom Nwuche, noted that the exercise would help in restoring the agricultural and economic life of the people of the region. Nwuche who was represented by the Project Coordinator of FYD, Mr Ojiugo Kingdom said Out of the desire to ensure a healthy environment for our people, whose environment had been adversely devastated by recurring oil spillages and emissions due to oil exploration and production, FYD, reached out to UNDP to intervene in the restoration.

Mr Kingdom stated Today, we begin the environmental remediation of the devastated Abacheke, Etekwuru and Ugada farmlands and environment. This project will obviously restore the land to its natural status that is suitable for agricultural produce.

He further stated This present intervention, which has taken a number of years to plan and coordinate, actually involved a multi-stakeholder strategic partnership with international and reputable donor agencies such as Global Enviornment Facilities Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP) and UNDP.

This project is in line with GEF-SGP's and UNDP's mission to support and fund community based environmental initiative that will positively impact the global environment and enhance livelihood through poverty alleviation activities.

Consistent with our previous youth empowerment programmes, FYD has leveraged the expertise of both our domestic and internationa partners to ensure the successful execution of this project.

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