The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has criticized the federal government’s handling of the gas pipeline explosion off the Bayelsa coast in January.
The party also said that the effect of this was a worsening of the plight of the already neglected people in the Koluama community and its environs.
In a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said that the kid gloves with which the government has treated the company responsible for the disaster - Chevron - contrasts sharply with the way oil firms responsible for pollution are treated elsewhere around the world.
It said that the government’s poor handling of the whole issue, which has worsened the people’s misery and hardship, poisoned their river and ruined their main source of livelihood (fishing), showed total lack of protection for them, while the oil firm responsible was engaging in tokenism in the name of response, instead of being made to pay a massive fine in addition to a thorough clean-up of the affected area.
‘’For a community that is already neglected, with no potable water, electricity, schools or health facilities, the Chevron gas pipeline disaster - which triggered a perpetual fire that enveloped communities with toxic smoke - is a double whammy, and the response of the government has deepened the pains of the residents and raised the fears that they could face a repeat of the 1953 disaster that wiped off the ancient Koluama community,” Mohammed said.