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Oil firms liable for the pollution of our environment in the Niger Delta – Bayelsa State Governor ~ Douye Diri

Gov Douye Diri, has accused oil companies of polluting the environment in the Niger Delta.

He said because of the exploration and production of crude oil and gas without much attention to the environment, the flora and fauna have been destroyed in the region.

Speaking at the Annual Convention and Fund Raising of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) of the Americas held in Houston, Texas, USA, weekend, he called on indigenes of the State in the diaspora to support the government efforts, targeted at tackling environment and other problems in Bayelsa State.

Commenting on the theme of the event – Ijaw Nation: Nurturing Partnership through Symbiotic Relationships Towards Homeland, Social, and Economic Development – he said oil and gas companies divesting in the state should invest in environmental restoration.

He said: “We would need the support of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora because there is so much we will achieve if we work together.”

Similarly, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, said: “Bayelsa State is likely to be the most polluted state but people may not know. What is responsible for this pollution could be many. But the people are partly involved in getting crude oil for illegal refining. After the refining, they throw the rest into the river.

“By the law, the Federal Government owns the water and land resources. So, everyone should join hands with the government to fight this menace.
“No matter the proceeds gotten from the illegal refining, it cannot be enough for the people and communities. Those perpetrating the act should desist.”
He said: “President Bola Tinubu will continue to support all Nigerians in the diaspora, including the ljaw people because we occupy a strategic position in the country.
“Oil remains the backbone of our economy because it accounts for at least 90 per cent of forex. We occupy the entire coastline. For us to benefit from this resource, we need to work with government at all levels”
On his part, the President General of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, expressed concerns that despite the enormous human and natural resources, the Ijaws, who are ranked as one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria, remain impoverished.
He said: “This is worsened by the lack of meaningful wealth creation/empowerment and employment opportunities.

“The Ijaw ecosystem has continuously faced unmitigated issues arising largely from oil and gas exploitation-related pollution without any reasonable form of remediation and compensation.”

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