By Archibong Jeremiah
In a 739 word count report, Hon. Grace Bassey, Councillor of Ward 7 and Chairperson, Bakassi Legislative Council House Committee on Healthcare/NGOs has accused Lafarge Holcim of environmental pollution.
The House Committee on Healthcare/NGOs Chairperson in an oversight function in company of Hon. Edet Anselem Edet, Councillor Ward 9 and Majority Leader, Hon. Edem Effiom Ekeng, Councillor Ward 5 and Chairman House Committee on Finance and Mr. Oku Ekpenyong, Deputy Clerk of the Bakassi Legislative Council and Photographer witnessed the huge effect of Lafarge Holcim environmental pollution.
The 17 Februrary, 2021 on the spot assessment was occasioned by motion sponsored by the Majority Leader, Hon. Anselem Asem Edet moved 15th of February, 2021 in plenary titled: Motion For The Inclusion Of Bakassi Local Government Area As Beneficiary OF Environmental Impact Assessement (EIA) Periodic Compensation/Payment With Reference To Lafarge Holcim And Affected Communities.
Read extract from the report below.
The area under review covers the entire aquatic waterways through the tributaries of the atlantic ocean which beautifies Bakassi Local Government Area, encompassing the entire Akpabuyo and Bakassi LGAs.
The team arrived Esuk Aye community in Bakassi Local Government at 8:56AM and were received by the Village Head, Chief Okon Asuquo Iwang and other community members, before the inspection began. The Village Head expressed joy to have a team from from Bakassi council.
In his speech he said that, the people of Esuk Aye have been neglected by the Government at the same time suffering from diseases due to the activities of Lafarge company in addition to no social amenities like health centre, accessible and clean water etc. The Chief apointed the Youth leader Mr. Okon Etim to pray and committ our journey into God’s hand.
The team and members of the community commenced the inspection exercise at 9:15AM, the aim of these exercise was to also discover the natural resources situated in the community.
Esuk Aye community is blessed with natural resources like crude oil, limestone, clay soil, Ewidi waterfall and a reserved virgin forest vegetation. The first place visited was Minimako Lime Stone and it was 20 kilometer walk.
After several interviews conducted on native residents of the community, here are the findings of the visiting crew during this asseessment exercise:
The company’s industrial plan disposes toxic wastes into the atmosphere, contaminating waters of these villages (Esuk Aye community and its environs), these communities have suffered constant effluxion of all chemical waste into their tributaries, which rivers empty into the Cross River State Estuary zone that migrate straight into the atlantic ocean.
Recently, there has been an expansive outbreak of disease of River Blindness which affects the eyes and skin caused by Filarial worm. Again, the activities of Lafarge Holcim have posed a great danger to the environment and lives of the people of Bakassi Local Government, such dangers include; loss of aquatic lives, marine erosion, industrial flaring, flood, oil spillage, loss of biodiversity and poor quality to domestic water are serious environmental hazard to the people of Bakassi.
In summary, Esuk Aye and other communities in Bakassi Local Government Area are supposed to be core beneficiaries of Environmental Impact Assessement (EIA), Benefit/Compensation. They are now the leeway and corridor of the pollution, devastation and hazards of Lafarge industrial operation.
Other communities include; Ifiang Ayong, Ifiang Nsung, Edik Okon Idem, Esuk Okon, Ikot Iwang, Ikot Okon, Ekpri Iwong, Ikot Effiom, Akwa Obutong, Ikang, Ikot Edem Oku, Edik Idim, Ine Abasi and Esighi respectively.
- There is no Health Centre, women and children go to traditional healers to receive treatment including pregnant mothers.
- No access to road.
- No School.
- No portable water.
- The children in this community walk 4 hours to school in Ekong Anaku in Akampa Local Government.
- The Elderlies are most affected with eyes disease.
- The community is is blessed with natural resources like, limestone, crude oil, waterfall and virgin forest.
That the listed communities in Bakassi Local Government should be captured in the report of Evironmental Impact Assessement (EIA) Periodic Compensation/Payment.
Stakeholders/Government should build and equiped health centre in affected Communities in Bakassi LGA.
Portable water like boreholes with solar panel should be constructed in Bakassi communities.
Construction of accessible road to Esuk Aye community.
Provision of public schools at both primary and secondary levels.
See pictures below.
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