YENAGOA – Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has charged multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta to commit a reasonable percentage of their revenue in protecting the environment where they operate.
“I want to appeal to the extractive industry, especially the multinational oil companies to plough back reasonable portions of their revenue into protecting the environment which they have perforated in the course of their operations.”
Dickson, who was represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd.), said that the government was soliciting the support of the international community and the UN to hold the oil companies accountable for the contravention of environmental laws.
He argued that the activities of the oil companies had adversely affected the environment and destroyed its natural resources.
“Indeed, the sustained exploitation of the state’s renewable and non-renewable natural resources has adversely affected our environment.
“This drastic situation is further compounded by the spread of water hyacinth to all fresh and brackish waters, rivers and creeks in the state, which blocks most creeks and rivulets during dry season.”
He said Bayelsa faced great environmental danger considering its peculiar situation, “with the grim reality of increasing greenhouse effect, global warming, sea level rise, marine pollution and other ecological threats”.
In his welcome address, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, said the celebration was the final activity of a week-long programme of events by the state government to mark the World Evironment Day.
According to Wills, the theme of this year’s celebration aims to highlight the need to protect small islands developing states in the face of risks and vulnerabilities caused primarily by climate change.
The commissioner observed that Bayelsa falls into the category of small islands states, a situation that has compelled the state and its people to raise their voices in favour of a harmonious and healthy environment.
“As a people, we are expected to raise our voices in favour of the environment, moreso as our natural ecological challenges as a state are gravely accentuated by human and industrial activities.
“These celebrations aim to bring to the fore the adverse effect of environmental degradation including the impact of climate change.”
The World Environment Day is celebrated globally on June 5 every year.
The 2014 celebration has its theme as “Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level”. (NAN)