By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, Wednesday, berated multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta for not conforming to international standards and best practices in their operations in the country.
He warned that his administration would not hesitate to join forces with other stakeholders in championing for environmental rights and justice in the country, if the international oil companies, IOCs fail to retrace their steps.
Dickson who spoke in Yenagoa, when the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Ambassador Bert Ronhaar paid him a courtesy visit, observed that the double standards by multinational oil companies contributes significantly to the devastation of the environment and impoverishment of the people of the region.
The governor lamented the brazen manner resources of the Niger Delta are expropriated, noting that the level of environmental degradation occasioned by the operations of IOCs places the region in a precarious situation.
“The ecosystem and livelihood of people in the Niger Delta have been negatively impacted as a result of oil exploration and exploitation activities over the years.”
He said: There are frightening scientific predictions that if urgent steps are not taken, most of the communities in the Niger Delta will be wiped away in the next couple of years.”
Recalling that Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Company struck oil in commercial quantities in Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956, he noted with regret that today, the place was bereft of any meaningful development.
“We have major issues of how to combat flooding, erosion of our communities and damaged ecosystem. There is now a disconnect arising from decades of what is perceived to be the nonchalant attitude by the international oil companies.
“The communities now see the companies as buccaneers, who do not care about them and their conditions. Their (IOCs) concern is only the oil and not the people’s well-being. Their activities here are such that you have double standards in terms of adherence to environmental rules, regulations and procedures.”