Paul Obiajunwo,Port Harcourt
Ogoni fisher men who reside at B-Dere Community waterfront in Khana Local government area of Rivers State yesterday said the only thing oil exploration in the area left them with was suffering, death, hunger and unforgettable pain.
They said with what oil exploration has done to aquatic lives and other things nature has deposited in their environment it would be very difficult for them and their generation to survive.
The fishermen lamented yesterday in Ogoni B-Dere community when our correspondent visited the waterside which has been affected with oil spill.
The residents of the area who are unhappy over their inability to fish and drink from the polluted river said the river was their only source of livelihood which nature freely gave them, adding that both the water, fishes animals, environment are gone.
One of the residents of the area, Mr. Bwaati Saaso who was sitting in front of his hut with his friend whenThe post met him said the only benefits the residents got from the oil exploration in the area were suffering and death.
He said having oil in the area is the worst thing that has happened to the people, stressing that oil exploration has destroyed so many things the nature had provided for them.
Saaso said: “ Oil is wicked, bad and evil. Look, if God will give us another opportunity to live on this earth again, to be frank with you, I will not wish myself to stay in this kind of environment again.
“The real occupation of our people is fishing and our fathers made a lot of money from it. They were looking good and fresh from the food nature provided for them. But look at us today; the water, the fish, the air and everything nature provided for us are gone. Look at my skill we are gradually dying.”
Another resident, Chief Vincent Shangolole who took The post round the spill sites said as fishermen they were living happily untill when the evil exploration started in the area.
He revealed that despite the oil deposit in the area yet there was no basic amenities like electricity and bole- hole sink in the area since the only source of drinking water has been contaminated.
He said God created the river to be their source of livelihood, adding that since the spill occurred the residents of the community have continue to live at the water front because they have nowhere to go to.
Chief Shangolole said: “We fish here before now to feed our family and to make money for ourselves. We were all happy living at the waterfront as fishermen, but one day we saw crude oil on top of water and that was what led to the dead of aquatic lives and things became worse for us.
“As you are seeing this water you cannot get ordinary crayfish on it. Now, this is our community we have nowhere to go, so in spite of our condition we have continued to live at the water front. One thing happened one day, one old man in the area whose house closer to the river was badly affected when the river got fire.
“His house, properties including him was burnt. But luckily he survived, though he is now a living corpse, I would like you to see him. The residents of the area are suffering and dying. We thank President Mohammadu Buhari for fulfill his promises on Ogoni clean-up.”