Dutch Officials Inspecting Oil spills in Bayelsa State
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has launched a global campaign tagged: ‘Rise for Bayelsa Campaign’ to check the menace of oil spills in the State and address its ravaging effects in parts of the state.
He said the campaign is to attract global attention to the menace of oil spills, pollution and environmental degradation in the state.
At the event held at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, the governor accused oil companies of fuelling insecurity in the region and also censured the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the state.
He said, “The oil companies constitute the biggest threat to the security and stability of the state and the Niger Delta region under the guise of awarding crude oil pipeline surveillance contracts”.
The governor’s Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah, quoted Dickson, accusing the oil multinationals of funding terrorism, criminality and breakdown of law and order in the state.
His words: “They are not only polluting our land, creeks, waterways and communities, they are also taking their terrorist and criminal activities to yet another frightening level.
“They have been killing, maiming and terrorising people in Nembe Bassambiri. A certain Kodjo is working as an Agip contractor funded by the company. In Southern Ijaw, there is a certain David Lyon and his people whose activities are being funded by Agip”.
He chastised the federal government for its failure to enforce environmental and safety standards as well as regulations on the oil companies operating in the region.
He called on all, especially the ICT-compliant youth of the state, to use the internet to portray the Bayelsa story so as to inform the Nigerian authorities and the world at large toward eliciting support and understanding.
In a welcome address, the Commissioner for the Environment, Ebipatei Apaingolo, said the activities of IOCs have had colossal negative effects on the environment and the Commonwealth of the people of Bayelsa, who are mainly farmers and fishermen.
According to him, oil spills have contaminated rivers and streams, the air, plants while farm produces in the Niger Delta are no longer consumable as elements of carcinogenic hydrocarbon are found in tuber crops.
He said the UN Environmental Programme noted that continued exposure to contaminated water, air and soil have put life expectancy rate in the Niger Delta at approximately 10 per cent below the national figure.
He added that in response to the environmental injustice, the ‘Rise for Bayelsa Campaign’ was launched to attract international attention to the malicious and damaging operations of oil companies in the state.