A lawmaker in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Igwe Aforji has accused the management of Notorea, a fertilizer firm in Onne, of neglecting its host community and urged them to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the community to forestall any conflict.
Aforji who represents Eleme Constituency in the State legislature made the call following four days of protest by youths of Onne at the premises of the company over they termed failure of the latter to implement the MoU entered with the community.
But Aforji expressed dismay over the attitude of the company to listen to the protesters and appealed to them to do the needful.
“As leaders we cannot fold our hands and see the Onne community, men, women stay in darkness, in rain and in the sun for the past four days without the intervention of the company.
“That shows the level of neglect that the company has for its host community. So, I urge the management of Notorea to please do the needful and discuss the issues with the community to enable them leave the gate as quickly as possible.
“You can see now the entire community is in front of the gate. They have been singing and they have been crying for help. We have informed all the security agencies and the leaders of Eleme. But it looks like we are helpless. So I want to call on the management of Notorea that our mothers and fathers have overstayed in front of their gate,” he stated.
The lawmaker however commended security agencies for maintaining law and order so far over the action of the youths.
“I want to frankly commend the Commissioner of Police, the DPO, the Area Commander, the Department of State Services (DSS) and all the security agencies for the way and manner they have managed within these four days.
“You will not believe that they (security personnel) have also been sleeping at the protest gate and it baffles me the kind of trained personnel we have these days. Before now we have a situation where people that are carrying out peaceful protest will be teargassed.
“But I must commend the security agencies for not acting unprofessional. They have acted professionally in the case of this protest,” Hon. Aforji stated.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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