The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has blamed international oil companies (IOCs) for polluting the Niger Delta environment through oil exploration and production.
Dickson accused the multinational oil companies of operating without recourse to international best practice.
He also slammed the IOCs for their insensitivity to the plight of their host communities in the region.
According to a statement through Mr Fidelis Soriwei, the Special Adviser, Media Relations to Dickson, on Saturday, May 11, the governor made his displeasure with the IOCs known while receiving the Green Wheel award by the Rotary International District 9141 in recognition of his contribution to addressing environmental challenges plaguing the region.
The award presented by Rotary’s District Governor, Adeyemi Oladokun at the PTI Warri, Delta State on Friday was received on behalf of the governor by Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ebipadei Apaingolo.
The governor commended Rotary International for recognising his efforts in addressing many environmental challenges facing Bayelsa and the Niger Delta, and vowed never to relent until environmental degradation became a thing of the past in the region.
Dickson disclosed that his administration launched the “Rise For Bayelsa Campaign” to attract global attention to the ravaging effects of oil spills, pollution and environmental degradation in the state.
He said that the aim of the commission was to investigate the environmental, health, socio-economic, cultural and human damage caused by operations of both local and multi-national oil companies.
The governor said it was also to “analyse the legislations governing the operations of multi-national oil companies in Bayelsa State, and in Nigeria, as well as establish a set of recommendations that would lead to the development of a new legal framework that ensures accountability.”
Dickson said it was therefore imperative for Rotary International and other local and international groups to partner with his administration in its quest to address the environmental challenges bedeviling the region.