Priotistise poverty eradication, development, activist urges NDDC
Disturbed by the level of environmental degradation and the health hazards posed by oil exploration and exploitation, the Niger Delta Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been implored to prioritise poverty eradication and development of the resource-rich region to reverse the situation.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Lagos, rights activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, deplored what she described as the “marginalisation of micro-minorities in oil-producing communities by the majority”, noting that the situation was also contributing to the under-development of the Niger Delta.
In her address titled, “Marginalisation of micro-minorities by larger minorities in Nigeria: Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg”, she regretted that the people were dying of treatable ailments in the host communities due to oil production.
She said: “Delta is the foremost oil and gas-producing state in the federation. The area, like others, has become blighted. The flora and fauna are suffering the debilitating, negative and devastating effects of oil and gas prospecting and production. Its major economic activity of fishing and other agricultural activities have been made impossible.”
“Our people also have health challenges as a result of oil production. The cases of cancer and others serious diseases have taken an alarming dimension. There has also been increase in unreported cases of people who died of ordinary malaria which was untreated because of excruciating poverty.
“There is a glaring lack of basic facilities of potable water, schools, hospitals, electricity, roads and habitable shelters among others in our area.”The activist recalled that “the NDDC was created as a result of the many decades of struggle for the development of the Niger Delta which predate our independence as a nation. The Willinks Commission Report of 1958 captured our plight.”
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