Anambra: Nnobi community seeks Soludo’s intervention over toxic emissions from rice mill

Some people of Ndam village in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra state have cried to the government to save them from the health and environmental hazards of massive rice mill sited in the area.

The people told Journalists on Monday that the activities of the company which commenced operations about three months ago were endangering their livelihood due to toxic emissions from the factory.

They said they and their forebears had lived in the community for centuries but the rice mile which was introduced in their midst had made some Indigenes to abandon their homestead for fear of their lives.

Mr John Enwedo, a native of Ndam village who spoke on behalf of the people said the company was polluting their environment with noise, black soot and liquid waste which was upsetting their ecosystem.

Enwodo said they could no longer sleep peacefully at night as a result of 24 hour noise and that their farms and roofs had been covered by black substances.

Enwedo said they could no longer collect and made use of rainwater in the short or long term as it had become black and unfit for use.

He said the construction of the factory was shrouded in secrecy as it was done within a high wall barricade such that people did not know what was being constructed in their vicinity

He called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to urgently intervene by prevailing on the owners of the factory move it to an industrial layout or non residential area in the interest of the people of the densely populated locality.

“People have abandoned their homes, some have itchy skins and eyes because if the emissions from this factory.

“This is our village, we have lived here all our history, factories are not supposed to be sited in the center of a residential area, we call on Anambra State Government to come and rescue us from extinction,” he said.

Mr Emma Okafor, an Agriculture Extension expert said there was need for urgent action as all the plants in the area may become unproductive when all their leaves got covered by sooths.

Okafor said the soot prevented the plants from getting sunlight which was responsible for root and fruit production noting that it was a real threat to livelihood.

In a reaction, Chief Emeka Agbanari, Managing Director of Seaman Industries, owners of the company said he was aware of the complaints and was already talking with the chairman of the village on how to manage the crisis.

Agbanari attributed the emissions to machines that had just been installed and currently undergoing a test run.

“We are already handling it, we have holding meetings with the leaders of the community because you are also from there.

“We have invited the engineers who installed the machine because instead of emitting smoke, it is emitting ash and that is not supposed to be, so we are working to correct it,” he said.

Responding, the state government said it has received a report of the environmental challenges in Ndam and directed the community to formalise it through a petition.

Commissioner for Environment Dr Felix Odimegwu said they were waiting for the petition from the affected persons after which the ministry would move into access the situation.