A group known as the Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Responsibility (SACA) has faulted the Federal Government and multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta over health hazards associated with oil exploitation and exploration.
Speaking to journalists at the inauguration of the group’s Project Management Committtee, the Executive Director, Kingsley Ozegbe, hinted that statics made available to his organisation through researches carried out revealed that in 2012 alone about 16,000 neonatal babies died in the region within one month of their birth.
According to Ozegbe, the babies died because they were conceived within a 10-kilometre radius from the sites of oil spills.
He reiterated his commitment to creating awareness through periodic sensitisation programmes of the group, noting that with the volume of oil spills occurring in the production areas of the multinational firms, more infants were at greater risks of deformity and possible death.
Ozegbe averred that further investigations by the group revealed that the effect of oil spills in the region have also led to the termination of pregnancies in 13 pregnant women out of a total of 1,000 studied and the impaired weight, height and growth of children that survive neonatal death.