The Bayelsa state government has accused foreign and indigenous forensic experts of pollution of its waters and creeks which has led to poisonous substances causing harm to the people of the state.
At a media briefing which took place yesterday in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mrs Funkazi Koroye Crooks and the State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ebi Epiangolo said the campaign was highly needed in order to curtail the environmental pollution in the state’s water and creeks.
“The test has been on for over two years under the State Ministry of Health and it was able to estimate the time a spill occurs and the effect on the lives of the people.” Mrs Funkazi Koroye Crooks said.
The Commissioner of Environment, Hon. Ebi Epiangolo, who spoke at the press conference said rather than the insignia of the state to enjoy the impact oil exploration by oil multinationals, “the reverse is the case in Bayelsa. The oil companies are not investing in the state but engaged in oil terrorism and destroying the state and the people. You will shed tears when if you know what they are doing.”
“if a spillage occurs in the state, the oil multinationals will set up a Joint Investigation team and term the spillage as sabotage. They don’t pay compensation. Since I have been commissioner, no compensation has been paid. They destroy the environment and refuse to pay compensation. Our water has been destroyed. Our people are dying. Our life expectancy has been reduced drastically. That is environmental terrorism.”
According to the Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Governor on Media, Hon. Daniel Alabra who also doubles as a member of the Media and Publicity Committee of the campaign said, ” it is an international campaign supported by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, which focuses on the plight of oil-bearing communities across the state.
The launch will feature the screening of a short documentary that showcases the devastation caused by oil companies operating in the state.”
“Bayelsa has the record of being the state where Nigeria’s first oil well was drilled by Shell in 1956. Some of the big oil multinationals today have operational bases in the state and it produces about 40 per cent of the country’s oil and gas resources. However, Bayelsa continues to suffer vast environmental and human damage due to the exploration activities of the oil firms.”
“The campaign noted that oil spills had resulted in lifetime exposure of communities to contaminated air, water sources, soil and sediment as well as put life expectancy in the Niger Delta around 10 years lower than the national average, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.”
“It also stated that flaring of gas, the process by which natural gas associated with petroleum extraction is burned off in the atmosphere, has had a significant negative impact in the Niger Delta, leading to environmental problems such as acid rain as well as generating greenhouse gases”.