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UK parliament applauds Dickson over campaign on Bayelsa oil spills

By Julius Osahon, Yenagoa
15 July 2019   |   4:16 am
Efforts to internationalize the campaign against environmental injustices in Bayelsa State have caught the attention of the United Kingdom ...

Governor Seriake Dickson

Efforts to internationalize the campaign against environmental injustices in Bayelsa State have caught the attention of the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament, as Africa, All Parliamentary Group (AAPG) held a session on the impact of oil spills in the state.

Chi Onwurah, a member of Parliament and Chair of AAPG, with over 200 parliamentarians from across parties and houses as members, chaired the event, being one of the largest and most active APPGs in the UK parliament.

This followed a similar recognition for the environmental campaign tagged: Rise for Bayelsa, which won seven awards at the recent Prix de la Photographie Paris (Paris Photography Prize) in Paris, France.

Award-winning photographer, Arteh Odijida, took the pictures depicting environmental and human devastation due to oil spills in Bayelsa State.

The Rise for Bayelsa campaign, which is supported by the Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, was launched in March this year followed by the empaneling of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) chaired by Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu.

Chairman of the BSOEC Expert Working Group (EWG), Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou, who represented the commission at the session, said the event was an excellent opportunity to highlight challenges of Bayelsa people at an international forum.

Other panelists, including Alexander Sewell, a Lead Researcher on Niger Delta at Stakeholder Democracy Network and Martin Day, former chair of Greenpeace UK and other guests, commended Governor Dickson’s commitment to tackling environmental injustice in the state and its potential impact on the Niger Delta region.

Nwajiaku-Dahou said the parliamentary group looked forward to outcomes of the BSOEC report, just as Rise for Bayelsa expressed delight that its campaign was beginning to get international attention.

The environmental group said its campaign was awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the Paris photography event and that the photographs taken by Odijida received international accolades by a panel of high-profile judges.

Paris Photography was founded in 2007 and is one of the most prestigious photography awards in Europe.“The images taken by Odijida capture the devastating impact of multinational oil companies in Bayelsa State and showcase the human and environmental damage caused by oil spills in the state.

“This is a fantastic recognition of Governor Dickson’s commitment to lead a global campaign on the environment. “I believe this is just the beginning of the accolades he will receive on the matter, which will place him as the only politician in Nigeria who has truly attempted to tackle this issue from an international perspective,” she said.