BSOEC Report Criticizes Oil Companies For Environmental Contamination In Bayelsa
As the report of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) was presented at the House of Lords in London, United Kingdom (UK), oil companies pollution in Bayelsa State came into the spotlight yesterday.
An Environmental Genocide: Counting the Human Cost of Oil in Bayelsa, Nigeria is a 211-page paper that provides a detailed account of more than 60 years of oil exploration and pollution in the state, where Shell made the first commercially significant oil discovery in Nigeria.
Honorary commissioners of BSOEC include Dr. John Sentamu, a former Anglican Archbishop of York and member of the House of Lords, along with John Kufuor, a former president of Ghana, and Baroness Valerie Amos, another member of the House of Lords.
In her remarks, Amos called on the international community to take action against environmental polluters, calling the poisoning of Bayelsa by oil giants disgraceful and shameful.
She stated: “The research and the evidence contained in the report tell stories that are so important. The impact of pollution on the community comes through so clearly and it is devastating.”
“This has been on for so long. It is an absolute scandal and we should all be ashamed that we have got to this point. Those responsible, including international oil companies, should be ashamed of the roles they have played in their refusal to take responsibility.”
“There has been no accountability on the part of oil multinationals.”
The British MP emphasized the urgency of taking immediate action, stating the whole community must unite to protect Bayelsa from the effects of what can be considered an environmental genocide.
Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou, the chairperson of the commission’s Expert Working Group, stated that the report was the result of four years of arduous labor by researchers, scientists, and professionals from other professions who visited Bayelsa communities to collect samples.
Nwajiaku-Dahou made note, among other things, of the commission’s recommendation for coordinated international action to raise and invest roughly $12 billion over a 12-year period in order to “repair, remediate, and restore the environment and public health damage caused by oil and gas.”