By Emma Amaize
WARRI – NATIVES of Koko, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, on Sunday, lashed out at the Itsekiri Environmental and Human Rights Group, IEHRG and other groups/persons over the accusation that toxic and carcinogenic waste/substances were dumped in the community, describing it as false.
The natives under the aegis of Concerned Koko Indigenes, CKI, in a statement by Mr. Victor Buwa and 10 others, said the unfounded allegation, which enjoys the support of ‘contractors and strangers,’ who had never visited the community in the past 20 years were made without consultation with the villagers.
They said: “These same people were also responsible of the proposed Escravos Gas’s to Liquid Project (EGTL) from our land without any whimper from these unscrupulous strangers, who do not know anything about Koko community.”
“We state emphatically that no one who does not live in Koko and had not visited Koko to see things for himself can speak for the people of the community on this matter under whatever guise. We want to vehemently condemn and denounce the authors of the said publication, including their sponsors, as they do not have the support of the community.
“We, therefore, use this medium to disown all publications, whether by the group or any other person to the effort that toxic waste had been dumped at Koko because it is not true and same should be discountenanced by members of the public,” they said.
They asserted: “It must be mentioned that the victim of this allegation, Ebenco Global Link Limited did not in any way dump toxic waste in our land, but has storage facilities for recycling of sludge with relevant equipment for processing same for the economic benefits for both the company and the indigenes of Koko community.”
The Koko indigenes stated: “We are also aware that Ebenco Global Link Limited did not in any way import any radioactive or carcinogenic waste/substances from any other country to our community, but company has a contract to evacuate the sludge from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in Escravos with the requisite authority from the relevant government agencies for treatment of sludge as required by law.”
“We are also aware that the relevant federal government and state agencies have paid visits to the site on getting the unfortunate wicked false alarm. They did not find the requirements /facilities of Ebenco Global Link as being defective or the procedure adopted by the company being harmful to us and our environment.
“We wish to commend the federal and state government for the spontaneous actions taken to allay the fear created by the perpetrators of these carriers of falsified information that that are not tenable,” they added.