Women of Nsit Ibom in Obotim Nsit community, Nsit Ibom area, Akwa-Ibom State have vowed to protest unclad to summon the wrath of the gods against government and a gas company whose pipeline was blown up in the community by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on July 24, for allegedly abandoning them to their fate after the destructive incident.
They claimed that the explosion caused extensive damage to houses in the village, besides ruining their farmlands and other means of livelihood, only for the company which is working for Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which constructed the pipeline, to simply evacuate its equipment after the incident and leave.
NDA, penultimate week, declared an unannounced ceasefire following appeal by monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta coastal states on militants to sheathe their swords.
2000 houses under threat
Head of the host community, where the NNPC gas pipeline control valve is located, Eteidung Okon Aaron Ukpong, told Niger Delta Voice, NDV, that the explosion destroyed nearly 2000 houses.
Besides shattering the villagers’ means of livelihood, he said the people have become susceptible to untold danger and insecurity, as their homes now stand on shaky foundations with the roofing sheets weakened by harmful chemical effects of the gas emissions.
Our anger against the gas firm, govt – Nkanta, women leader
The Women Leader of the community, Mrs. Dorothy Nkanta, who corroborated the claims of the village head, was aghast at the alleged lack of concern of their plight showed by government and the firm – Seven Energy Gas Company – before and after the explosion.
Stressing that the explosion destroyed their cassava farms, oil palm and other economic trees, Nkanta lamented: “Unfortunately, Seven Energy came and evacuated their equipment from the site not minding the losses the community have recorded.
“That means that they do not care about the disaster they have brought to us after taking our land to lay their pipeline and locate their control valve. They are not bothered about the health hazards and general calamity the emissions from their pipeline have brought to our land.
“What have they said is our offence for giving our land out for them to do business? Is this the kind of reward we should receive from government and the gas company for the good thing we did for them?”
Her words: “But I want to warn that they should not provoke us to go Unclad on the streets for them else, it will not be well with them.
“We need compensation for the losses we have recorded as a result of that gas pipeline explosion and for the degradation of our land since that gas pipeline control valve was installed at the Asang Community High School, else, we will go Unclad on the streets to provoke the gods of our land to action against these people, who have suddenly turned our enemies.”
The village head urged both the state and federal governments to send their agencies to assess the magnitude of distress the pipeline explosion has brought to the people of the community with a view to compensating them.