By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Palpable tension has enveloped the twin cities of Ekpan and Effurun as indigenes of the two communities in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State have vowed to cripple the operations of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), both subsidiaries of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) over health hazards caused by air pollution.
They have consequently requested that the management of both companies summons an emergency meeting with the community leadership to address issues that border on how to find lasting solutions to the health challenges posed to the lives of their people in the community as a result their operations.
President General (PG) of Uvwie Kingdom, Chief Austin Ukuwrere, in a statement in Warri yesterday, said the records at the disposal of the community executive revealed that over 80 persons (both indigenes and non-indigenes) of the council area have been admitted in various hospitals for respiratory disorder.
He explained that medical examinations conducted on the people, especially the ones admitted at the Ekpan General Hospital, revealed it was as a result of the air pollution from the gas flare of WRPC and NGC plants that constantly pollutes the air and emits chemical substances taken in by residents of these areas.
â€œWe have written several letters seeking audience with the management of these companies but they have turned deaf ears to our appeal to dialogue with us with a view of finding solutions to this health hazards caused by their operations in our community.
â€˜â€We can not continue to fold our hands and watch our people being subjected to series of health challenges due to the operations of these companies and the management seems not bothered. So we have decided to impress it on them the way we consider very appropriate to register our protest,â€ he said.
He stated further â€œMay be the management are thinking we going to adopt the old method of protest where indigenes would just come and block their gates to protest while they are working inside but they are making a mistake.
â€œThis time around, we intend to take our protest to the next level where their operations would be crippled till we get their attention to come to a round table and discuss how to address the health hazard their operation was causing our people,â€ Ukuwrere concluded.