The governor of Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson has lamented the activities of oil companies in the state, and the entire Niger Delta region.
He described oil companies in the area as environmental terrorists, who were busy killing the people of the oil region in “instalments and in advance.”
The governor, who stated this at the weekend during the presentation of the interim report by the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC), in Yenagoa, said that one would be shocked to see the difference that exists in the blood sample from a person from the Niger Delta region and a person outside the region.
The governor had in March 2019 inaugurated the commission.
Receiving the commission’s report he said, “The world will continue to know what the state has been suffering from the hands of the multinationals. A silent health crisis is happening in our state, which is why I have always referred to the activities of the oil companies to environmental terrorism.
“The terrorist is not only the one who walks up to you with a gun or another one who blows himself up for a purpose maybe personal, material or ideological, but another brand of terrorism that is real but very silent is ongoing.
“Killing our people in instalments and in advance, just take a blood sample of us here and those that are not from this region and you’ll be shocked. Nobody is talking about it, we are dealing with a major crisis of monumental proportion but we will continue to preach to the conscience of the world for them to know that beyond making money, beyond crude oil is a very important part of international diplomacy, the health of the people matters.”
The commission’s chairman, Dr John Sentamu, speaking earlier had told the governor the commission had for over the past seven months investigated and gathered pieces of evidence and testimonies on the impact of the activities of oil companies in the state.
He said from their findings, the activities of the multinational oil companies in the state amount to environmental genocide, adding that the companies have done terrible damages and should not be allowed to get away with their alleged atrocities.
“We hope to mount pressure on the companies to operate through the same legal and morally responsibly the way they do in the United Kingdom, so that if there are spillages, they don’t get away but rather clean up and pay huge bills of compensation because the damage has been done for so long, with these measures, we can bring about change for the people,” Sentamu said.
Speaking further he said, “Roughly 40m litres of oil wind up in the Niger Delta annually, eight times more than is spilled in America, the world’s biggest producer and consumer.
“Early analysis shows that if Bayelsa’s share of oil spilled is the same as oil pumped, as much as a barrel of oil may have been spilled for every man, woman and child living in Bayelsa today. It is estimated that the consequences of oil spills may kill around 16,000 infants in the Niger Delta annually within their first month of life.”
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