Health audit must be carried out across the various communities in the Niger Delta region as part of efforts to address the menace of environmental pollution and degradation, some civil society organisations (CSOs) have demanded.
They made the demand during a roundtable programme with the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) on Tuesday, May 21 in Yenagoa.
Safety Record can report that the roundtable programme was organised as part of the work of an international Commission of Inquiry instituted by the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson in March 2019 to tackle incessant crude oil spills in Bayelsa.
The Coordinator of Global Care Rescue Mission, Mrs Elizabeth Egbe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the health audit would address the environmental challenge in the state.
Egbe, whose NGO is also known as Operation Rescue, said that the audit would specifically establish the health situation of the affected communities impacted by oil spillage.
Also, she described the inauguration of Commission of Inquiry as a “laudable initiative”.
In the same vein, the President, Ogbia Women Assembly, Mrs Aniedim Ozowede, described the incidence of environmental pollution in the state and the entire Niger Delta region as “worrisome”.
However, she pointed out that the Commission of Inquiry would not achieve much of its lofty terms of reference unless it involved the grassroots to deepen its findings.
“The commission should also visit Oloibiri, where oil and gas was first discovered,” she added.
Chairman of the Commission, the Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom, Most Rev. John Sentamu, said that CSOs were highly needed to represent communities and combat injustice in the society.
He said, “Many of you have been involved in issues of social, political and economic justice in the Niger Delta for a number of years.
“Today, we would like to hear from you about the work you have been doing in Bayelsa in relation to oil spills and what you would like to see from the oil companies in terms of their operations in your communities.”