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Pollution: Bayelsa Oil Commission Blames Multinational Oil Companies

...Says oil spill could kill 16,000 infants annually 

By Udoyo Oyosongo
The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission has launched a blistering indictment of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta calling their actions “nothing less than environmental genocide”.
The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu who chaired the Commission, said that he worked alongside industry and environmental experts to investigate the impact of oil spills and the environmental and social damage done by International Oil Companies operating in Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
Launching the interim report, the Archbishop accused Shell, AGIP and other oil companies of heaping environmental devastation upon the people of Bayelsa while ignoring their pleas for assistance.
Speaking at the launch of the Interim report in Nigeria, Dr. Sentamu 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 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.”
“Our environment knows no bounds. We are all global citizens. It would never be acceptable to cause such environmental devastation in Europe or America, and accordingly it should never be acceptable in Africa or South America.”
“Oil companies today have a moral obligation to uphold the same high environmental standards, wherever they operate, anything less is to knowingly continue an environmental genocide against the people of places like the Niger Delta.”
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Dickson, who established the Commission, while receiving the report from Setamu  stated “ I am grateful to the Archbishop, the Commissioners and the global community for highlighting this long-held injustice on the world stage. The Commission has finally provided a voice for every man, woman and child in Bayelsa that has struggled for over half a century with what can be deemed as environmental terrorism”.
“I established the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission to hold oil companies to account, to shift the mindset of multinationals operating in Bayelsa and to inspire a global sustainable change. Everyone deserves the same rights, whether you live in Nigeria or in the USA.”
“Since the first oil well was drilled in Nigeria by Shell in Bayelsa in 1956, Bayelsan’s have rarely benefitted from oil. We have faced the destruction of our environment, rivers filled with oil, our farmlands destroyed, and a host of health problems including the ongoing deaths of our children.
“I’m grateful to the Archbishop for sharing what he has seen with the world. We, the people of Bayelsa and the world wait to hear the steps the oil companies will take in Nigeria and around the world to address this kind of environmental injustice and we eagerly anticipate the recommendations of the Commission in 2020.”
The Commission will publish its final report in early 2020.

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