RIVERS STATE: A RESOURCE CURSE

Rivers state, the wealth of our nation is blessed with agricultural and natural resources. Prior to exploration for oil, Rivers state was known for her agricultural activities which include; crops farming and fishery. After the discovery of crude oil and natural gas in the mid 20th century, agricultural activities began to decline as a result of government neglect on the sector and focus on oil and gas exploration.

These have further lead to other negativities of environmental pollution, thereby degrading the environment that supports agriculture.

Today, residents of Rivers state are experiencing the effect of government choices which has lead to a not only degraded environment that used to support agriculture but also, an unhealthy atmosphere for her residents.

The black sooth that is being experienced today across Rivers state is in a perspective, a sign of industrial activities. However, activities that have to lead to this unhealthy environment are being carried out in an unsafe manner.

These activities are done by companies, organizations, and individuals operating within rivers state. Criminals and government looters have seized the opportunity to indulge in illegal activities that have further degraded the environment and place the lives of residents at risk.

Development experienced in Rivers state in recent years has been unsustainable (i.e. degrading human lives and environment, as such undermine the future of generations to come). The government in her duties should revert and focus on sustainable development in order to secure future generations.

These can be achieved by enforcing environmental and health policies especially as it affects operations of companies, organizations, and individuals.

Also, illegal activities such as crude oil theft, an illegal distillation of crude oil, unsafe disposal of waste must be discouraged and strict penalties placed on environmental and health offenders for proper regulation.

Revenue derived from industrial activities must first be used to mitigate environmental and health effects before it is used for other developmental purposes.

Government units, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) directly involved in the enforcement of environmental and health policies should act now to secure the oil-rich state or risk her total degradation.

Sources: Kegoz