In its bid to unravel the circumstances surrounding oil spillages and other activities of multi-national companies in the state, the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) will have an important interactive session with the chairmen of local council areas, councillors, community development leaders, traditional rulers, community leaders, and other stakeholders of the area councils.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa, the secretary of the commission, Dr Kathryn Nwajiaku Dahou, said the move is in a bid to engage all community leaders, so as to ascertain the level of impact in their various communities.
“The State Oil and EnvironmentalCommission is an independent international body of Commissioners, chaired by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, mandated by His Excellency, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, to investigate the impact of oil spill in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.”
According to the statement, “there is the urgent need to address the menace which, in reality, has caused severe damage to the health of those residing in the affected communities.”
It further hinted that “Ogbia LGA will first play host to the commission on Tuesday, 9th, at the Ogbia Council Hall in Ogbia Town, by 9am, followed by Yenagoa, at the Yenagoa Local Government Council Hall, by 1pm.”
“On Wednesday, 10th July, will be the turn of Nembe Council area, but the session will hold at the Dr. GABRIEL OKARA CULTURAL CENTRE, Yenagoa by 9am. The train then leaves for Twon Brass Town hall, and will kick off at 11am for Brass LGA on the same day.
For Southern Ijaw area council, Oporoma town hall will host the commission on Thursday at 10am, while Ekeremor town hall will also host the commissiom at 11am, at the Ekeremor council area hall.
The commission will round up it’s sitting on Saturday 13th July with a session at Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA at the Kaiama town hall commission by 9am, while the Sagbama council hall will equally host the Commission, at the same time, for Sagbama area council.
The statement further urged all community stakeholders, to avail themselves at their various council areas, on the respective dates of the interactive session, and assist the Commission in their fact finding mission in the state.
The BSOEC was launched in Bayelsa State on Wednesday 27 March, where Commissioners visited various oil spill sites and held a number of evidence sessions to gather testimony from communities that have been impacted by oil spills.
The BSOEC is due to publish a report towards the end of year 2019 detailing their findings and recommendations.
Commissioners include Baroness Valerie Amos, former UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and a number of high-level experts, including Professor Michael Watts, Professor Roland Hodler, Dr Anna Zalik, Dr Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou and Professor Engobo Emeseh.