Metro 25% of Izombe People Were Blind due to Gas Flaring in Imo State, Says Traditonal Ruler


His Royal Highness Chijioke Egwuagu, the traditional ruler of Umunwama-Izombe in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo, said on Thursday that more than 25 per cent of Izombe people had eyesight problems.

Egwuagu made this known at a news conference on problems associated with gas flaring and environmental pollution in Izombe.

Izombe community has a flow station with two oil companies, ADDAX and Chevron, operating in the area.

Egwuagu said that three of the four traditional rulers in the community were blind, while more than 25 per cent of the people in the area had cataracts and cancerous diseases.

He also said that the community had been neglected by the oil companies for a long time.

``Apart from their inability to attend to the needs of the people, the companies also refused to honour invitations for discussion.’’

Egwuagu, who is also the Chairman of Izombe Council of Traditional Rulers, expressed regret that ADDAX had operated in the area for more than 40 years without anything showing its presence.

``ADDAX had its first outing in Izombe and yet there is nothing to show that such a company is in our land.’’

He said that the Izombe flow station was the only on-shore operation of ADDAX in Nigeria.

``The law says the multinational company must show physical presence in the community.

``They are supposed to build their headquarters and staff quarters in Izombe and yet it has no physical structure here,’’ he said.

Egwuagu said the company had agreed to meet with leaders of the area on the problem, warning that if discussion failed, they would invite international independent surveyors and valuers.