No fewer than five people have lost their lives in Gelegele community in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, following the emission of gas from a private oil company in the area, residents of the community have said.
The residents of the oil community claimed that the deaths occurred due to the environmental hazards they were exposed to daily, adding that many community members were currently suffering from different ailments due to the continuous flaring of gas.
A member of the community, Joseph Gbale, who spoke under the umbrella of the Ijaw Youth of Edo State, lamented that in spite of the Federal Government assurance that gas flaring by oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region would end on December 31, 2013, gas emission had persisted in the community.
Gbale, who gave the names of those who died as “Ibote Ossia, Aladin Iyefabiri, Anthony Adeyemi, Roland Ofunama and Aboy Donyegha,” urged the Federal Government to assist in the relocation of the gas flare site to save the lives of the residents.
He said, “The state and federal governments should, as a matter of urgent national importance, prevail on the oil firm to relocate the flaring of gas from Gelegele community as several lives have been lost.”
The group, while appealing to the state government to appoint an Ijaw person to the board of Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Area Development Commission, also called on the Federal Government to fast-track the construction of a seaport in the area to promote the economy.
“The Federal Government should immediately commence work on the Gelegele Seaport as this will bring development and business opportunities to Edo people as well as job creation to our teeming unemployed youths,” it said.