Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Soldiers Brutalise Egita Women, Restricts them from farming, People flee the community

Barely one year afther the gas eruption in Egita community in Egiland in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers State, soldiers deployed to make surveillance on gas pipeline in the ares have been accused of brutalising and dehumanising women in Egita community.
A source who spoke to the Beacon from the area said residents have started fleeing the community, following environmental devastation in the community.

Last April, 2012, there was an underground gas eruption from the oil pipelines of Total Exploration and Producing Nigerian Limited in Egita land.
A statement in Port Harcourt recently by an environmantal activist, Samson Abiala, said soldiers sent by the oil company to keep surveillence allegedly 'tear-gassed' the people, brutalised innnocent women and imposed a restriction order to ban the women from going to farm.

Abiala said the fear of the soldiers and Total's refusal to compensate the people has brought untold hardship to the community people.
The activist called on international organisations as well as the senate committee on environment to visit the area, in order to profer a lasting solution that will ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
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The women of Egita made a peaceful protest three weeks after the disaster of gas eruption in the oil rich Egiland in Ogba/Egbeme/Ndoni L.G.A, against their abject neglet and lack of relief material by Total Exploration and Production, Nigeria Limited, operators of OML 58, whose facility sparked widespread emission of gas in four communities.

The women who expressed fear of a possible earthquake in their community also declared seven days of hunger strike in order to attract local and international attention to their plight. The visible angry women bore various placards to convey their messages during the protest.

Some placards read: 'Total is causing earthquake in Egi land' 'Relief materials should be negotiated between Total and affected communities in Egiland' devastated Egita community appeal to human rights groups to block Total office in France and USA.

In an emotion laden voice, the leader of the protesting women Mrs. Ngozi Solomon, said the women of the community are hunger stricken as a result of the gas explosion. She maintained that their farmland which are the only means of livelihood have been destroyed.
They have been bared from cultivating and harvesting their crops. They have also been bared from cooking with fire woods and making fire around their surrounding.

Life for the women and chilfren of Egita is becoming unbearable. She lamented that more than one year after the disaster, no relief materials, no food, and no money have been provided by Total to support the community.
She therefore called on the local and international organisations to come to their rescue.

On his part, a youth leader in Egita community, Comrade Morrison Ephraim  Ngozi, decried the absence of relief materials to the community after one year. He expressed displeasure that most of the elders of the community are lying critically ill in hospital because of inhaling the poisonous gas emmited by the gas eruption.

The Egi concerned citizens observed that the resultiing earth vibration has disfigured buildings and the fear is very high, while calling on Total to open effective consultations and negotiations with the Egita community.. They solicited the solidarity of well meaning local and foreign human rights organisations to join the women in the struggle for justice and fair play.

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