15 April 2014, Yenagoa—Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday, berated international oil companies over what he described as their insensitivity to the plight of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta.
He said that over the years, the accumulated effects of their activities was beginning to have their toll on the people of oil producing states, as they have impacted adversely on the lives of the people, especially Bayelsa State, where oil companies have the bulk of their operations.
He said: “I have said it before that what has been going on in Bayelsa State and in all the oil producing areas, concerning the levity with which oil companies treat the issues of the environment, maintenance of environmental and health standards, is unimaginable.
“We all have a duty to keep the environment safe and hand it to our children’s children, the same way our parents handed it over to us. Already, in our villages and communities, we can see what is happening; the accumulated effects of many years of oil exploration and exploitation, a regime of lack of transparency and accountability by oil companies, which are operating in this area because they have no respect for our laws and even our lives.”
Dickson, in a statement in Yenagoa, urged non-governmental organisations and other well meaning groups to join government in championing the cause of protecting the environment for the sake of posterity.
“The environment is one of the greatest challenges our people are facing. This government is aware of the precarious situation of our environment and we are aware of our overall responsibility to protect the environment, which is the most important heritage,” he said.
He condemned the activities of pipeline vandals and operators of illegal refineries for their unpatriotic acts, calling on the people of the state to see the fight against such crimes as a collective one.
The governor added that his administration will create awareness on compliance with standard practice as regards the environment.
“Of recent, our people have added to the environmental challenges even in a more direct and insidious ways. They break pipelines where crude oil flows freely on our land spoiling our rivers and destroying our ecosystem,” he lamented.
Dickson, warned politicians involved in early politicking ahead of the 2016 governorship elections in the state, saying that the state was no longer for the highest bidder and persons not interested in the development and growth of the state.
Dickson, while swearing in eight new commissioners in the state, warned that never again will the state be on offer to the highest bidder as it will not be surrendered to those who do not mean well for the state.
Governor Dickson, who tasked the new commissioners to work as a formidable team to protect the overall interest of the state as the only homogenous home of the Ijaws, said his administration will not allow some persons he termed buccaneers and vultures to take over the administration of the state.
Governor Dickson said: “You are all going to work as a team, because your functions overlap. I urge you to stand firm. This state will not be surrendered to vagabonds anymore. What we have done will be permanent. The restoration and revolution that we have started in this state, we will take it to the end and never again will this state be on offer to the highest bidder.
“This state, the only homogenous state of the Ijaw people, will not be surrendered to vultures and buccaneers. This state will continue to be in the hands of those who understand why it was created and why our people fought and died over the years to have this state to stand up as a beacon of hope for the Ijaw man, and I assure you, we will continue to work and mobilise support in this state behind me and therefore, behind the President. Bayelsa State will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
– Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard