Group urges govt, oil companies to end gas flaring, address infrastructural deficiency in host communities

Group urges govt, oil companies to end gas flaring, address infrastructural deficiency in host communities

The Niger Delta Journalists Association (NDJA) has urged the Imo State Government and oil companies operating in Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas to end gas flaring.

According to NDJA, gas flaring has caused serious environmental hazards in the host communities, and to address the lack of social amenities such as electricity, roads, water schemes, hospitals, markets and schools in the areas.

Following their meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the association demanded employment opportunities for youths of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta in public service and oil companies. Scholarships or internships for students and graduates, both domestically and overseas. Payment of bursaries to every youth. Empowerment of women in commerce and cottage industries.

They also insisted on the immediate cessation of gas flaring by oil companies, which has dangerously disrupted the ecosystem of their operating environment.

Speaking through its National President, Austin Okoro, the association stated that it has consistently advocated for the welfare and progress of the oil-bearing communities through media publications.

He said if oil companies redirect their efforts towards building infrastructure, empowering youths and women and creating scholarship opportunities for students, the oil-producing communities in the state will experience social and economic development, fostering peace between the companies and their hosts.

“Regrettably, the Scholarship Scheme, which was abruptly terminated by the Rescue Mission Government under Rochas Okorocha in 2011, had greatly assisted many indigent youths of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta in acquiring quality formal education.

“Therefore, we call on the Imo State Government, led by Hope Uzodinma, and the Imo State House of Assembly to reinstate the abrogated Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme, enabling indigent people of the oil-producing communities to acquire skills essential for their development,” he said.

The media group also called on oil companies operating in the area, including Water Smithe, Stalin Global, Seplat, Mobile, and others, to operate responsibly by implementing the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) agreed upon with host communities.