*Says Gas flaring causes cancer and death of many in Niger Delta
File photo: Gas flaring
WARRI- An environmental expert, Professor Daniel Ikudayisi Olorunfemi has blamed federal Government for allowing the multinationals in the country to allow gas flaring, just as he said Gas flaring causes many health hazards, including cancer which has also caused the death of many lives in the country, especially Niger Delta region where oil exploration and exploitation activities are mainly carried out.
Professor Olorunfemi while speaking as a guest lecturer in an annual seminar held today (Tuesday) in Warri, organized by the founder and National coordinator of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CPEJ) Comrade Sheriff Mulade on the Theme ‘‘ Role of the CSO’s and Media in the promotion of sustainable environment in Niger Delta’’
According to him ‘‘ Nigeria fcaes all types of environmental pollution that is harmful to health But Gas flaring is more serious with its attendant emission of chemicals greatly hit by the people in the oil bearing communities in Niger Delta which causes great number of cancer and death among the people, particularly women in the region.’’
According to him, human impact on environment is food insecurity, deforestation, climate change which lead to loss of biodiversity that make the environment difficult for its dwellers.
Professor Olorunfemi from the University of Benin, department of Environment and Toxicology, averred that Nigeria faces all types of environmental pollution such as air, water, land, noise (from religious bodies who use loud speakers outside their worship centers, aircraft landing, generators and so on) and Gas flaring which he said is the major among all are . He insists authorities at privileged positions cared less about the health of the citizens in the country.
He said the media has a great role to play by reporting the affected environmental pollution to the society and the international community. He noted that there should be a synergy between the media and civil society groups to act as partners in progress to solve the environmental degradation and flagrant disobedient by both the government and multi-nationals in Niger Delta of international laid down policies.
The Don said, Nigeria is a member of the international charter of the sustainability of the millennium development goals to stop total gas flaring with a target year between 2000-2015. But the Nigerian government and the multi-nationals have flagrantly violated the international policies of gas flaring.
He charged members of civil society groups and journalists to report the degraded Nigerian environment fearlessly and courageously until total gas flaring is adhered incompliance of international standard.
He urged journalists to play an outstanding role in creating and enlightenment campaign to the society. He averred that the journalists should act as watchdog.
According to him, the media helps in fighting corruption, institutionalized machineries, just as the media fought during the terrible military rule. He charged reporters to shun corruption, cross check their facts, reach out to the local people in the affected communities before publishing their news, instead of waiting for government house press statement which according to him are one-side.
In his welcome address by founder and coordinator, centre for peace and environmental justice (CEPEJ) comrade sheriff Mulade who thanked the dignitaries from various media houses and civil society organizations for attending annual seminar.
He said ‘‘we gather here today at the instance of the Centre for Peace and Environment Justice (CEPEJ) is particularly appropriate. The theme of this conference reflects growing recognition of the media its indispensable role and the contributions of non-Governmental organizations to the sustenance of democracy in a country of over 180 million people.
‘‘I am amazed at the advancement we have witnessed in the media for the past few years. I can still recall how the media was being bastardised right, left and front. The truth however remains that the media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society. Every enlighten Nigerian must agree with me that the media is the sword arm of democracy. It acts as the watch dog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness’’ he asserted.
Comrade Sheriff noted that media as the fourth pillar of democracy along with judiciary, executive and legislature, media of today has an all-embracing role to act against oppression misdeeds and practicality of our society. ‘‘Media helps in fighting against corruption, nepotism, and favoritism of institutional machinery. The media does this by carrying out a relentless campaign against such vices’’ he said.