WOMEN of the Obotim Nsit community in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have vowed to protest nude to summon the wrath of the gods against the government and the Seven Energy Gas Company that has polluted their land.
On July 24, militant group the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) blew up the gas pipeline belonging to the Seven Energy Gas Company, working for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the area. According to the local women, the explosion caused extensive damage to all the houses in the village besides ruining their farmlands and other means of livelihood.
They claim that the company, working for the NNPC, which constructed the pipeline, simply evacuated its equipment after the incident and left. NDA spokesman Brigadier Mudoch Agbinibo, empathised with the people but said it was an unavoidable corollary they would have to bear in the spirit of the struggle to liberate them.
Eteidung Okon Aaron Ukpong, the head of the host community, where the gas pipeline control valve is located, said that the explosion destroyed nearly 2000 houses in the community. He added that besides shattering the villagers’ means of livelihood, the incident has left them 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.
Local women’s leader 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 Seven Energy Gas Company before and after the explosion. She stressed that the explosion destroyed their cassava farms, oil palm and other economic trees.
Mrs Nkanta said: “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?”
She added that they need compensation for the losses they have recorded as a result of the gas pipeline explosion and for the degradation of their land. Mrs Nkanta added that if they do not, they we will go naked on the streets to provoke the gods of their land to action against these people, who have suddenly turned their enemies.