There can be no picture more vivid or tale more chilling about environmental racism than the one provided by the special report in The PUNCH on the 31st of December 2015 entitled, “Blood, tears in chambers of steel”. It was about the impact of environmental pollution by some steel companies on communities in Ogun State.
The report meant much more to me because some time towards the end of last year, a community leader from one of the impacted communities reached out to me concerning their situation, and we began to communicate. He later introduced me to one Mr Yusuf Olawale, as Secretary, Ogijo Area Joint Development Committee, who then sent me a statement concerning their predicament which I wish to present here to show the uncanny corroboration it bears to the scenario painted by the writers of the special PUNCH feature in question.
It reads: “We the communities around the Ita Sanni area in Ogijo, Sagamu Local Government Area have suffered unprecedented particulate emission from the pollution activities of steel companies that are operating in these communities. Such companies include Monarch Steel, Real Infrastructure Limited, Metal Africa Limited, African Foundry and a rubber smelting company, Tech Hi-Profile Limited, in Kamalo community.
“A visit to Ita Sanni, Ogijo will readily show the serious pollution of the atmosphere around their host communities. Several entreaties had been made by these communities with a view to holding dialogue on how to reduce this atmospheric pollution but nothing has changed.