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Akwa Ibom: Ibeno farmers lament over impact of oil spills on their crops



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

Farmers in Okoro-Utip, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have decried the negative impact of oil spills on their crops as well as their aquatic animals.

The farmers raised the alarm on Tuesday during a community dialogue with the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) at the Community hall, Okoro-Utip.

They explained that they have been experiencing poor yield as a result of contact of the oil on the crops, noting that so many of them took loans from microfinance banks but got disappointed by the yield of their crops.

One of the farmers in the community, Pastor Abasi Ubong John, who conducted HOMEF around his farm, said that cassava stems he planted over a year ago were yet to bear tubers while the stems have started decaying.

He added that all the vegetables planted on his farm have turned yellow, saying that even when fertilizers are being applied, they will have no positive impact on the crops.

According to him, “This cassava you see here, I planted it over one year ago and when you harvest, nothing will be inside of it. If you leave it to stay longer, it will start decaying from the ground.

“The problem is that the oil that enters the farm will destroy the grass and whatsoever you plant even if you apply organic manure, it will not work not to talk of fertilizer. This oil drilling has affected the Ibeno people seriously. It has affected our soil such that you cannot see earthworms, millipedes, etc. which help in the soil aeration.”

Also, another farmer, Elizabeth Ifum, said that the health of her people has been threatened by the consumption of crops planted with fertilizers as plants will never grow in the area without the application of fertilizer.

Earlier, Stephen Oduware, Project Lead, HOMEF described Ibeno as a hot spot for oil pollution and encouraged the people to stand up and demand what is supposed to be given to them.