Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has blamed International Oil Companies (IOCs) for degrading the predominantly swampy Niger Delta environment through oil and gas exploration and production.
In a statement issued on Saturday by Mr Fidelis Soriwei, the Special Adviser, Media Relations to Dickson, the governor stated this when he received the Green Wheel Award by the Rotary International District 9141.
Soriwei said the award, presented by Rotary’s District Governor, Adeyemi Oladokun at the PTI Warri, Delta State, was in recognition of Dickson’s contribution to environmental challenges in the region.
He said the governor had expressed displeasure over what he described as the insensitivity of multinational oil companies to the plight of their host communities in the Niger Delta region.
Represented by the commissioner for Environment, Mr Ebipadei Apaingolo, Dickson condemned the multinational oil firms for brazenly destroying the Niger Delta environment.
He alleged that the IOCs operated without adherence to international best practices.
He, however, lauded Rotary International for recognising the activities of his administration with such a prestigious award, especially on issues relating to environment as it affected the people of the state.
The governor who reiterated his commitment to fighting environmental degradation, noted that the launch of `Rise For Bayelsa Campaign’ was to attract global attention to the effects of oil pollution in the state.
He said the commission was inaugurated to investigate the environmental, health, socio-economic, cultural and human damage caused by operations of both local and multi-national oil companies.
Dickson sought the partnership of Rotary International and other local and international groups to support his administration’s efforts towards addressing the environmental challenges confronting the people of Niger Delta region.