By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday expressed sadness over the effects of illegal oil exploration by Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company in Ogwu Ikpele in Ogbaru, Anambra State.
This was even as the Lower Chamber called on the company to stop further operations pending its visit to the communities and sites.
This followed the adoption of a motion on the “urgent need for intervention in the illegal oil exploration, environmental pollution, epidemic outbreak and communal clash as a result of operation of SGOC, moved by Hon. Chukwuma Onyema.
In his lead debate, Onyema noted that Ogwu Okpele which boasts of huge deposits of crude oil shares boundary with Omoku, Okpai and Uchi in Rivers State.
He informed that the Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company is operating in the area without due process and recourse to the people of the community.
“Aware that unknown to the people of Ogwu Ikpele, Sterling Global Oil Exploration and Energy Company is operating in their lands without environmental impact assessment, baseline survey, socio-economic impact assessment and corporate social responsible; “Informed that the oil company has no site liasion office in Ogwu Ikpele or in any other place known to the people, and its representatives schedule meeting to meetings with the community only in hotels”.
The deputy minority leader worried that “the activities of the oil company are causing environmental, air and water pollution in the area, thereby resulting in outbreak of respiratory tract infections, cholera, water borne diseases, coastal erosion and destruction of the ecosystem”.
He further worried that the management of the company is instigating communal clashes capable of leading to loss of lives and destruction of property in the community and its environs.
In adopting the motion, the House mandated its committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstroke) and Environment and Habitat to visit the community and the exploration sites with a view to ascertaining their legality and operational agreement in compliance with extent laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and report back within three weeks.