Bayelsa community accuses Daewoo of blocking natural water channels

Bayelsa community accuses Daewoo of blocking natural water channels

INDIGENES of Imiringi community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have lamented what they described as the negative impact and suffering they are facing now occasioned by the operations of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s contracting firm, Daewoo, in the area.

According to the community, the construction of a canal in 2009 by Daewoo, which led to the blocking of natural creeks in the environment, was posing serious health and environmental threat to the people and community.

A community leader, Chief Onyaghan Edoghotu, said: “When Daewoo came, they created this canal by excavation with a view to sending their pipes to Soku. There was a time Daewoo asked us whether they should cover it back and we said yes. But, at the end, they just completed their pipes transfer and left the place without doing the needful. The effect of this is flooding of our farms and fish ponds.

“Water from the Kolo Creek and other natural water channels gets to our community from Oruma (Yiba-ama) community. Water from that environment would have flowed freely through other connecting water channels in our community.

“But, due to the embankment of the side of this artificial canal by Daewoo, thoroughfare had been denied the water flow and hence, the unusual flooding we experience. It is on-going for 10 years now as we have been suffering like that. We have been writing, but Shell has not acted as desired. We are not happy, but sadly, we don’t have power to influence Shell to do the needful.”

A former Vice-Chairman of the Community Development Committee, CDC, of Imiringi, Mr. Ranami Afagha, said: “Daewoo has had two major projects in Imiringi environment in recent times. The first was a pipeline that heads from Olugbo family land to part of Rivers State, and the second is the recent one they ended last December at the gas gathering plant on my family land.

“Daewoo operations at the Olugbo family land caused a lot of damage to farmlands because they blocked a lot of natural waterways as I am aware that till date, those blocked natural waterways and creeks are still blocked.”

Daewoo’s operation actually caused negative environmental impact by the act of creating a canal and deliberately blocking several natural water channels in the environment.”

Another victim who gave her name as Mrs. Rita Obonia, said: “Before the blocking of the natural water channels [by Daewoo], we used to carry out fishing activities in the affected environment for two or three years at a stretch. We have many fish ponds in the environment between our community and Oruma, Anyu and Ogboloma. Many of the creeks/natural water channels; we can’t use them again.

“The blockade of these natural water channels by Daewoo has resulted into loss of means of livelihood for me. I am kobo less right now. The blocking of the water channels has caused our farms and farmlands to be waterlogged and destroyed our crops over these years.”

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