About 16,000 Infants In Bayelsa Die From Oil Spills In One Month – Ijaw Stakeholders Demand Action On Panel Report


June 17,2023.

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At a joint press conference held at the Muson Centre, Lagos State, the coalition urged the Nigerian government to immediately demonstrate to the international environmental community that it is committed to take action, rather than endless talks.

coalition of Ijaw interest groups and other stakeholders in the environmental sector has demanded the immediate implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) report.

At a joint press conference held at the Muson Centre, Lagos State, the coalition urged the Nigerian government to immediately demonstrate to the international environmental community that it is committed to take action, rather than endless talks.

The stakeholders include; Secretary, Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos, Efiye Bribena; Moderator, Ijaw Nation Forum, Ben Okoro; BoT Chairman, Embasara Foundation, Amagbe Kentebe; BOT Chairperson, Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), Annkio Briggs; President, Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA), Lagos, Pattison Boleigha; President, Homeland Chapter, Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA), Iniruo Wills; President, Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC), Prof. Monday Selle Gold.

Others are; Programme Manager/Head, Era Niger Delta Resource Centre, Yenagoa, Alagoa Morris; Chairman, Bayelsa NGOs’ Forum, Kemedengiyefa Opia and Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Lanre Suraju.

Recall that a report, titled “Environmental Genocide: The Human and Environmental Cost of Big Oil in Bayelsa, Nigeria,” was released on 16th May 2023 and sheds light on the devastating effects of the oil and gas industry on the environment, social economy, and human lives in Bayelsa State.

Chaired by Lord John Sentamu, a member of the UK House of Lords and former Archbishop of York, the multinational panel conducted a thorough investigation into the ecological destruction caused by the oil and gas industry in Bayelsa State over the past 50 years.

The report reveals alarming statistics, including the spilling of approximately 110-165 million gallons of crude oil, equivalent to 10-15 times the volume of the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, which devastated the Alaskan coastline.

Furthermore, toxic contaminants such as chromium have been found in groundwater at levels over 1,000 times the safety limit set by the World Health Organisation.

The report also highlights the dire consequences for human life, with an estimated 16,000 infants dying within a month of birth due to pre-natal exposure to oil spills.

These distressing findings point to an environmental genocide, threatening the existence of the Ijaw indigenous nationality and the physical integrity of the region.

While commending the commission for their comprehensive investigation and the Bayelsa State Government for launching the report, the coalition emphasizes the urgent need for faithful implementation of the report’s recommendations.

They call upon the Bayelsa State Government and the President of Nigeria to take immediate action to address the environmental crisis and hold accountable the oil companies responsible for the pollution.

The coalition expresses disappointment in the lack of significant action taken by the state government to combat the ongoing devastation caused by oil spills and environmental breaches.

They emphasise that mere speeches and promises are insufficient, urging the government to demonstrate their commitment through tangible actions and policies that will effectively combat pollution and protect affected communities.

In addition to demanding action from the Bayelsa State Government, the coalition proposes several supporting actions to address the environmental crisis. These include the establishment of a Niger Delta-wide Environmental Remediation Programme, imposing sanctions on repeat offenders of environmental breaches, and allocating a percentage of Bayelsa State’s revenues to an Environmental Recovery Fund.

The coalition invites all individuals and organisations concerned about the environmental crisis in Bayelsa State to join their cause and contribute to the efforts to restore and protect the region.

They emphasise the importance of prompt and decisive action to ensure the well-being of affected communities and future generations.

As the world grapples with the need to address climate change, the release of the BSOEC report serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for environmental sustainability and responsible practices. The implementation of its recommendations would not only benefit the people of Bayelsa State but also contribute to global efforts to protect the planet.(www.naija247news.com)

Peters Anene, News Editor
Peters Anene, News Editorhttp://Naija247news.com
Anene Peters is the news editor for Naija247news Media Group. He started his journalism career as an intern on tech and science. He's a graduate of Abia State University with a major in Computer Science and Communications. You can contact him for press events on 0903 927 6505 Email: anene.peter@naija247news.com

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