ioi Traditional Worship

CANCER: Indian Oil Firm Destroy Ancient African Shrines, Wreaking Ecosystem Havoc in Akwa Ibom

Ukpana Community, situated in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, staged a protest on Wednesday, obstructing the operations of Natural Oilfield Services Limited (NOSL), an oil firm accused of causing environmental degradation in the region.

The demonstrators, comprising men, women, nursing mothers, and youths, decried the company’s alleged destruction of their environment, economic trees, water bodies, and traditional shrines. Specific grievances included the bulldozing and sand filling of creeks, streams, swamps, and the destruction of ancestral shrines, such as Nkuku, Ikot Inwang, and Ikpaisong Ubop Owo.

NOSL, which operates in partnership with the Nigeria National Petroleum Exploration and Production Limited, holds responsibility for OML 13 in Oniong Clan, Onna LGA, engaging in oil and gas appraisal and well drilling activities. The protesters demanded the cessation of the company’s operations until their grievances were addressed, citing the indifferent stance of NOSL’s management towards their concerns. Placards brandished during the protest accused NOSL of trespassing on their land without consultation, destroying their livelihoods, and subjecting them to undue suffering.

Chief Ranzi Bassey, the village head of Ukpana, expressed dismay over the extensive damage inflicted by NOSL, including the destruction of crops, economic trees, buildings, and ancestral shrines. Despite notifications through their community Attorney–Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Community Development Network (AKIPCON), the village council asserted that NOSL remained unresponsive to their pleas.

Joseph Israel, a protester, highlighted the economic hardships and insecurity faced by the community’s youth due to the lack of alternative livelihood options following the destruction caused by NOSL’s activities.

The upheaval stemmed from the construction of an access road to the appraisal well drilling site at the company’s operational base, resulting in significant environmental degradation and socio-economic hardship

IMAGE: Niaraland

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