An Organisation known as Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has stated that an average of 240,000 barrels of crude oil are spilled in the Niger Delta region yearly.
Executive Director of the organisation, Auwal Ibrahim Musa disclosed this last Thursday during the 2019 NAWOJ week celebration in Rivers State.
He said the oil spills which are mostly caused by oil exploratory activities led to 60 percent reduction in household food security and reduced the ascorbic acid content of vegetables by as much as 36 percent and the crude protein content of cassava by. 40 percent, which, according to him, could result in a 24 percent increase in the prevalence of childhood malnutrition.
He pointed out that oil spills have grave health implications on human lives.
“Evidence continues to accumulate suggesting that environmental exposures adversely impact human reproductive function. Chemical exposures in the work place, homes, farms and ambient environment have devastating effects on women’s reproductive health, and concerns have been raised about a broad spectrum of factors that affect women health including social, biological and physical environment”, he said.
The body noted that, although each year, hundreds of post -impact assessment (PIA) studies are conducted to assess the impact of the hazards generated by the oil industry on the physical and social environment and human health, most of these studies are conducted without any significant contributions by health professionals and are reported without highlighting the immediate and long term implications of the identified hazards on the health of members of the impacted communities.
The body recommended effective environmental governance in the Niger Delta, stating that it is only through such process that laws, policies and procedures would be implemented to achieve a healthy and sustainable environment in the region.
“It is through good environmental governance that the key stakeholders (government, oil companies, local communities) will be able to perform their roles to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment. It is through good governance that we will be able to eliminate conflict and environmental entrepreneurs who feed on the crisis in the Niger Delta.”
The Executive Director also commended NAWOJ for the choice of the theme of the program, “ Clean the Niger Delta, Save our Women”,and urged Journalists to always highlight the importance of environmental justice in their reports to promote a healthy and sustainable environment in the Niger Delta.