YENAGOA – The Bayelsa State Government is to engage oil producing companies operating in the state to improve environmental standard and living conditions of the people, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, has said.
Wills told newsmen in Yenagoa on Friday that the step would contribute toward improving environmental management.
He described the state government’s relationship with the oil companies as ‘cordial’.
The commissioner said, “these environmental challenges which have been for 50-60 years are worrisome.
“I believe these challenges have been there since the beginning of oil exploitation in Nigeria, which began in Bayelsa.
“So, now, we as government and trustees of environment, on behalf of our communities, will be engaging with the oil industries to protect our environment.
“That is in a way that can ensure latitude on how the environment is being managed in the course of oil companies operation in Bayelsa.
“We will be finding a possible means through which such challenges will be tackled.
“The inspection of Agip Oil Company by the Federal Ministry of Environment on Oct. 16 is a welcome development.
“We are looking for a total paradigm shift in the way forward; that is a shift in line with the best international practices.”
The commissioner explained that the environmental problems in the state not only affected the economy but had health, social and physical implications.
“This time, we are going to strike a balance that can guarantee proper environmental standard and work towards restoration,” Wills said. (NAN)