Panic Over Looming Epidemics In Delta

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Indigenes and residents of Ukwu-Nzu, a community in Aniocha north local government area of Delta State are living in perpetual fear of the possibility of the outbreak of cholera and other gastrointestinal diseases over the activities of coal mining in the area.

Ukwu-Nzu, is threatened with cholera, as the stream and their only source of water is allegedly polluted and turned brownish due to the mining activities.

When journalists visited the two rivers (Odo and Ojokpa Rivers) in Ukwu-Nzu community, it was observed that the pollution of the water was as a result of the mining in the neighboring Ugboba community.

It was observed that the water is muddy and brownish in colour while the vegetation in the effected rivers have all changed colour from the usual greenish pasture.

An indigene and a community leader, Mr Kaikenechukwu Okolie, who spoke, lamented the situation the community is going through over the activity of coal mining.

He said: “We have been facing this challenge since over two months, nothing has been done about it. We have been making frantic efforts to reach out to the Government for help.

“We reach out to the Commissioner for Environment and the Chairman of Aniocha north local government area.

“We also reach out to the coal mining company, MOSRA Energy and they visited the rivers but till now, we have not heard from them over two months.

“Nobody is against the coal mining in our neighboring community, we are only concern about the pollution in our rivers. As I speak to you now, our people cannot use the water to process cassava because of the pollution.

“Our people are afraid of using the water because there maybe an outbreak of epidemics. So, we are begging government to come to our aid before people will start to die.

“The river cannot habit aquatic activity now, not alone for drinking, we are calling on Governor Sheriff Oborevweri as a matter of urgency to address the situation before people will start to die as a result of cholera.and other diseases.

The State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Jamani Ejiro who confirmed the situation on Wednesday in Asaba, said he got the information in December 2023.

“I got the information about the activities of the coal mining last year and I wanted to visit the site before the climate change issue.

“We will visit the site next week (this week) to get first hand information because the MORE agenda of Governor Sheriff Oborevweri is to protect the people, so we will not want somebody to destroy our environment or waterway.

“We will soon go into action now that we are reliably informed that there is water pollution in the community to save lives”.

Responding to the water pollution, the Resource Manager, MOSRA energy limited, Mr Ahmed Ali said the colouration of the river is a result of NEWMAP erosion control in the community years back and not the activities of coal mining.

He said, “Regards to the purported colouration of the rivers, our coal mining process does not generate any waste.

“When the issue happened, we also took our time to carry out our own independent investigation and discovered that some years back, the NEWMAP erosion control channel drainage to the river as the only way to avoid reoccurring erosion.

“The red sound (laterat) was part of the material was used and they did erosion control to level and stopped. So, during raining season, it move laterat to the river and colour the river. It is some that stocked on the way that is colouring the river not our Activities”.

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