Bayelsa: Environmentalists urge Gov Diri to tackle oil firms’ pollution
Environmentalists on Wednesday called on the Bayelsa government to take urgent and immediate action on the Bayelsa Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) report.
The report titled ‘An Environmental Genocide: Counting the Human Cost of Oil in Bayelsa, Nigeria’ was presented to Governor Douye Diri at the House of Lords on Tuesday in London.
The report captured over 60 years of oil exploration and pollution in the oil-rich state.
The BSOEC, established in March 2019 by former Governor Seriake Dickson, noted that abnormally high concentrations of toxic heavy metals were found in soil and waters in Bayelsa oil communities.
The report attributed the massive pollution to oil and gas exploration and production by oil firms. It recommended a remediation fund of $12 billion for 12 years.
Nninmo Bassey, an environmentalist, noted that Bayelsa was polluted with high toxicity levels.
“The horrific degradation of the Niger Delta is undeniable, as it is open and in plain sight,” Mr Bassey said.
He added, “Having the report is good, particularly for Bayelsa, because the state is arguably the most dastardly polluted in Nigeria. But having the report is one thing. After the report confirms the obvious, what will be the next steps?”
Another environmentalist, Alagoa Morris, welcomed the report, stating that though Mr Dickson came up with the setting up of the commission from a very “selfish” disposition, it was nice that a special investigation and report relating to the oil industry-induced pollution was becoming a reality; specifically for Bayelsa.
“While that of Ogoni is just about Shell, in Bayelsa, we should be looking at the combined pollution caused by Shell, Agip, Chevron, Conoil, etc.,” Mr Morris said.
Mr Morris further called for the effective cleanup and remediation of all impacted sites, just like UNEP recommended cleanup in Ogoni as well as compensation for pending cases of equipment failure incidents.
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