THE SOOT SPEECH BY MAGNUS ABE



“We should put politics aside and pursue the same objective which is to get the health of our people sorted out”.

I have said before on this Soot matter and I want to say it again, as members of the National Assembly from Rivers State we have done everything we can do. We have  gone to the Federal Ministry of Environment, we have passed motions and resolutions, the Senate has mandated its committee  on environment to look into the matter. We have done all these things—there are things that you do and when people ask you, you say I have done this one, I have done this one, and when you check the list, you have done it all. But the matter of the well-being of Rivers people need to go beyond that.

And that is why sometimes ago, I challenged the Governor, I said, call every stakeholder, because this thing is environmental, it’s scientific, it’s human—we need to mobilize beyond what we can touch. We need to get the academic community involved. We need to get the studies. We need to get the international community involved. We need to know exactly what is causing the problem. We need to mobilize resources, both at the federal, state, local government and even community levels. Everybody should be involved.

As a Senator representing a senatorial district in the state, I cannot on my own do the much that I think we need to do to actually tackle this problem to the level we need to tackle it. But the ideas are there. I have some, other people have some. If we are able to put ourselves together, we can actually deal with the problem.

That is why I challenged the governor. He has the resources of the state. The human beings in the state are part of the resources of the state. If he can call all of us together, I have offered that I will come, I will participate. And anything we can do to get people involved, we should do it for the sake of Rivers people and those who live here. We should put politics aside and pursue the same objective which is to get the health of our people sorted out in that respect.

And I want to repeat that offer that as Rivers people we all need to come together to find out what is actually causing this problem. We need to get the international community involved. We need to mobilize both state, national and local resources to be able to get to the root of this problem.

As long as we don’t give it that concentrated attack, I am afraid that it will continue to be one talk shop after the other. But something definitely is wrong. I am concerned and I believe that we all are.

My voice goes out once again in that respect.

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