Bayelsa communities accuse DPR, NOSDRA of complicity in oil spill
Oil-ravaged communities in Bayelsa State have accused the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and another regulatory body, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), of connivance with oil multinationals in the destruction of their environment.
The four communities, Babragbene, Lasukugbene and Oyeregbene in Southern Ijaw and Mbikiba in Brass Local Council, made the accusation during a town hall meeting with members of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) at Oyeregbene community.
The commission, led by the Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom (UK), Dr. John Sentamu, was on a fact-finding tour of oil spill and environmentally-degraded communities in the state.
The communities, which demanded a clean-up of their land and waterways as well as payment of compensation by the oil multinationals operating in their area, said federal agencies – DPR and NOSDRA – were biased in favour of the international oil companies (IOCs) whenever spills occur.
President of the Ijaw Association of Oil and Gas Producing Communities, Yabrou Tou, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved communities, bemoaned the total neglect of host-communities by the oil multinationals despite series of appeals to them on the effect of the spills on their environment.
He told the panel how he was taken to court in Abuja for reporting Chevron to the Nigeria Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for refusing to clean up a spill that occurred from its facility.
Tou said the incident, which occurred in 2015 at an oil rig, spilled its contents for six months non-stop.
Also, Pastor Ofongo Alamene and a fisherwoman, Mrs. Flora Soridei, called on the multinational companies to live up to their corporate responsibility by providing social amenities like potable water, electricity, healthcare and payment of compensation.
Alamene, who reminded the multinational oil firms that a divided house cannot stand, said: “No medical or material supports are given to victims of oil spills while projects promised in the GMOUs are either haphazardly done or abandoned midway with flimsy excuses.”
Bayelsa State Commissioner for the Environment, Ebipatei Apaingolo, in his remarks, said the commission was established to examine the impact of oil exploration activities on host-communities in the state.
According to him, the oil companies have been neglecting their responsibilities of cleaning up the environment and paying compensation to affected communities.
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