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Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has berated international oil companies over what he referred to as, ‘insensitivity to the plight of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta.’

He stated that over the years, the accumulated effects of their activities were beginning to have its toll on the people of oil producing states, as they have impacted adversely on the lives of the people, especially Bayelsa, where oil companies have the bulk of their operations.

“I have said it before that what has been going on in Bayelsa State and in all oil producing areas concerning the levity with which oil companies treat the issues of the environment and the maintenance of environmental and health standards is unimaginable.

“We all have a duty to keep the environment safe and hand it to our children’s children, the same way our parents handed it over to us. Already, in our villages and communities, we can see what is happening; the accumulated effects of several years of oil exploration and exploitation; a regime of lack of transparency and accountability by oil companies, who are operating in this area because they have no respect for our laws and even our lives”, he said.

Background:

The health hazards created by oil exploration and exploitation are covert and slow in action. They are not given the deserved attention in official documents in Nigeria, even as they can be major contributors to the disease burden in oil-bearing communities. This study is an interpretation of the data reported in several published studies on crude oil spills in the Niger delta region, Nigeria.

Materials and Methods:

A manual and Internet search was conducted to extract quantitative data on the quantity of crude oil spilled; the concentrations of the pollutants in surface water, ground water, ambient air and plant and animal tissue; and the direct impact on human health and household food security.

 

A succession of oil spills by Shell and other companies over half a century will cost $1bn to clean up, according to a major report.

Devastating oil spills in the Niger delta over the past five decades will cost $1bn to rectify and take up to 30 years to clean up, according to a UN report.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) has announced that Shell and other oil firms systematically contaminated a 1,000 sq km (386 sq mile) area of Ogoniland, in the Niger delta, with disastrous consequences for human health and wildlife.

Nigerians had "paid a high price" for the economic growth brought by the oil industry, said UNEP's executive director.