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    Bayelsa oil bearing communities seek end to incessant spill, environmental pollution


    Some oil bearing communities in Bayelsa State have urged the federal government and managements of multinational oil companies to take proactive measures to end incessant spill and environmental pollution in their areas.

    They also described the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) entered with international oil companies (IOCs) to address these issues as fraudulent.

    Thecommunities in Yenagoa, Ogbia, Nembe, Brass and Southern Ijaw local government areas made the appeal  yesterday during separate stakeholders forum organised by the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) in their  respective council headquarters.

    The commission is holding a week-long interactive engagement with stakeholders in the eight local government areas of the state in order to ascertain the impact of oil spills on the environment, local communities, livelihoods and health of the people.

    A royal father, the Ibedaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo, in his presentation, said that the GMoUs with oil companies“ are all fallacies’’.

    He said: “The GMoUs are fallacies. The oil companies deceive the communities with these documents and still will not clean up the environment when there is a spill or even provide social amenities for the people. The GMOU has never worked in any community.

    “When I was nominated by my community as one of the negotiators of the GMoU, I thought we will sit down and discuss. But, unfortunately, the SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) already prepared a document for us to read and sign. They said we should not ask anything other than what was in the document.

    “We were not allowed to note our problems because they claim to know it more than us.  Since after the discussion, nothing has been done by the SPDC and our people are suffering.

    “Our youths are jobless and now resorting to militancy and other vices that are inimical to society. Poverty has really bitten us. The night life we used to enjoy through gathering together for folktales can no longer be done because of the fear of attack by our own people.”

    An Oloibiri community leader, Chief Dennis Ovoh-Adogu, decried a situation where their areas still remain undeveloped despite their huge contribution to the nation’s economy, saying the most painful thing is that their environment is being polluted through oil explorations.

    He said: “Our children are dying from pollution and suffer different kinds of ailments. Our rivers are polluted. The fisherfolks go fishing throughout the night and come back with nothing because the fishes are all dead.”

    “Federal government’s presence is not felt in our area, despite the abundance of oil here, the way it is going, we may be tempted to stage a protest against government and all the operating oil companies in this area.’’

    Responding, chairman of the commission, Dr. John Sentamu, said government is  committed to finding  solutions to the challenges.

    Sentamu, who was represented by a commissioner, Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou, promised to ensure that the people’s grievances are reflected in the commission’s report and followed up with serious advocacy.

     

     

    The post appeared first on Daily Trust.

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