EBONYI, Nigeria – Omege Agalegu village, Ndufu-Alike, in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, yesterday protested over alleged land pollution of their community by a mining company, First Patriot Nigeria Ltd.
The community, however, demanded N300,000 million compensation from the mining company for damaging their farmlands and water source.
The pollution according to the community has been ongoing for over three years with no effort made by the said Company or State Government to reverse the ugly trend.
They said the development led to the poisoning of their major source of potable water, land and death of aquatic life within the environment.
They were carrying placards with the inscription: “Re: The Devastating Effect of Your Company’s Waste Disposal on Our Land and Water Environment and Demand for Compensation” addressed to the Director, First Patriot Nigeria Ltd, Ndufu-Alike-Ikwo and signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Omege Development Union, Sunday Nwewor and Ogbonnaya Nweke, respectively.
According to the Community, ”we have watched helplessly the destruction and devastation of our plants, animals, crops and economic livelihood, the degradation of our land and water environment caused by the waste discharged into our water through the Company’s activities of mineral exploration and exploration.
Other members of the community who spoke on the ugly scenario include Nweke Nworie, Uche Uguru, Ekuma Chukwudi, Monday Nwanchor, Nweke Christopher and Umanyi Rosemary.
“The action of the Company is condemnable, absurd and infringement on the Community’s fundamental right to live and utilize its natural resources.
“We, the people of the Community hereby demand immediate compensation for the damages, pains and trauma caused by the Company’s waste disposal into our stream. We demand compensation of N300, 000, 000 million naira.
“The compensation should be within 30 working days from the day of the receipt of this letter. We demand that the Company from today stops polluting our land and water environment. We demand the company to build their waste disposal facilities to avoid more damage to us” they said.
In a swift reaction, the Project Manager of First Patriot Nig. Ltd, Mr. Neelam Sada explained that the immediate land owners where exploration work is taking place are not complaining of any ugly situation.
“Omege Community is not within our area of operation. They didn’t give us land directly and so, they are not our landowners. What they are claiming is not correct.
“Where the Community is busy writing and claiming Environmental hazard is almost 5kms away from our operations base after our host community. Our host community doesn’t have any complaints on any kind of effluent discharge or any damage” he said.
OgeneAfrican learnt that the community had engaged lawyers who according to findings had written to the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Ebonyi State, the Coordinator, NESREA, Ebonyi State Field Office as part of measures to ensure quick dispensation of justice to the people of the community.