ANDONI: OBOLO YOUTHS LAMENT OVER UNFAIR HUMAN ACTIVITIES ON THEIR ENVIRONMENT
….want government to designate Obolo environment as games and forest reserve to save aquatic lives, promote forestation and economic prosperity of Obolo people.
In a bid to promote tourism, protect the environment and ensure economic well-being of the people of OBOLO ethnic nationality, which spreads through Andoni Local Government Area in Rivers State and parts of Akwa-Ibom State, youths of the area are now appealing to the relevant authorities to come to the aid of the people by stopping all illegal activities, damaging the ecosystem.
The youths of Obolo Nation, under the aegis of OBOLO YOUTH COALITION, Worldwide made the appeal in an open letter to the Federal Ministry of Environment, through Mr D. ADEJOH ANDREW, who is the Head of Forestry of the Ministry and the Director of Forestry, Department of Forestry, Abuja and copied to the Rivers State Ministries of Environment and Agriculture.
The OBOLO youths are pained that their environment, particularly forests in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers are being defiled through some unfriendly environmental activities that are inimical to not just aquatic lives but wild lives, human lives and economic prosperity of OBOLO ethnic nationality.
President-General of OBOLO Youth Coalition, Worldwide, Hon. IJONAMA MKPON AMON in the letter said …….
“We the members of the Obolo Youth Coalition (OYC), Worldwide (a Pan-Obolo ethnic youth organization of the Obolo indigenous people hereby requests that the Federal Ministry of Environment, The Federal Department Of Forestry, Abuja should passionately make an interim Order, declaring as Game and Forest Reserves, the entire stretch of the rainforests of Ikuru Town to Oyorokoto Town in the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State as a deliberate effort in conserving the rich but fragile and endangered biodiversity of the forests against the ongoing wanton, reckless and indiscriminate exploitations of the fauna and flora of the rainforests”.
IJONAMA MKPON, the open letter titled: ‘IMPASSIONED APPEAL FOR THE IMMEDIATE DESIGNATION AND CONSERVATION OF THE IKURU – OYOROKOTO RANGE OF FOREST IN THE ANDONI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA (OBOLO) OF RIVERS STATE AS EXCLUSIVE GAME/FOREST RESERVES’; stressed that the Andoni axis of OBOLO Nation has from time immemorial, held what he described as their priceless and treasured environment sacred from the destructive activities of the outside world.
The OBOLO youth leader, revealed that they have long kept and maintained the “rich biodiversity of our lands and forests; especially of the vast lush rainforest range of our littoral communities, stretching from Ikuru Town through Ekede, Ngo, Unyengala, Agana, Agwut-Obolo, Isiama, Illotombi, Muma and Oyorokoto communities.
“Our forebears warmly and jealously clutched in their bosom and handed down from generation to generation, these pearls and jewels of this particular thick rainforest jungle and the marine treasures of the inland water bodies and coastlands of Andoni, bordering the Atlantic Ocean”.
IJONAMA MKPON AMON regretted that all the natural treasures of their lands, waters and forests, which their fathers bequeathed to them have in recent times come under untold and unprecedented violation by state powers, by indiscriminately exploring and exploiting the rich natural endowments of their environment; especially the Oil & Gas activities carried out in the area.
He lamented that “We of this generation are deeply pained by this development and we seek urgent reparative, restorative, preservative and conservative measures by the government at all levels, non-governmental organizations and individuals to salvage whatever remains of these natural blessings that we cherish so dearly”.
IJONAMA MKPON further bemoaned the level degradation the ongoing negative environmental activities of man has caused the ecosystem of the people of Andoni LGA in Rivers State.
“Presently, the vast forest has come under unrelenting and wanton destruction because of the environmentally unfriendly activities of some people.
“The recent upsurge in the sprawling and deleterious activities of indiscriminate felling of trees and lumbering by loggers and the increased, intensified and extensive geophysical and seismic operations of the Oil and Gas industry in the area are sweepingly threatening the existence of this beatific and panoramic ecosystem. Even the densest part of the Andoni rainforest, which is hitherto, home to not only a to wide range of very useful and exquisitely colourful and verdant flora but also of populously breathtaking fauna of diverse species; including the elephant, hippopotamus, alligator, monitor lizard, monkey, tortoise, python, wild dog, the White Eagle, parrot, vulture and an array of other species, all living feral in their natural habitat, is now under rapid depletion and many of these wildlife are on the verge of extinction.
“Same is the sordid story of the myriad aquatic and amphibious creatures of the many creeks, rivers and open seas of the Obolo people of Andoni in particular.
“The reckless and indiscriminate use of very toxic chemicals and explosives in fishing and Oil and Gas exploration and exploitation has greatly polluted the marine environment of the area and many of the aquatic lives there have become extinct and some, like the whale, shark, ray (especially the Trygon Ray), mudskipper, barracuda, tilapia, mullet, flying fish, squid, crustacean and other shellfish and a host of other marine species that had been age-long denizens of the area are now either on grave decline or outright disappearance.
“The elephants and other critically endangered wildlife of the forest have for long, drawn the attention of local, national and international wildlife conservationists to the need for concerted efforts to conserve this forest and the rare wildlife and hope it holds for mankind’s prudent and sustainable use”.
“It is therefore our impassioned appeal here that your administration immediately activate in full, all available and extant laws and bye-laws and the new legislative enactment, as well as the triggering and use of Executive Orders on forest and wildlife conservation to durably salvage this forest range and the rare treasured wildlife it holds”.