29th August, 2015
Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Saturday bemoaned the deplorable level of environmental degradation in the state.
He expressed the concern during the executive interactive session with editors on the sideline of the ongoing 11th All Nigerian Editors Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Yenagoa.
The governor identified three major challenges causing the environmental degradation in the state.
According to him, the state recorded 636 spills in the last one year from the facilities of a particular oil company operating in the state.
”From our statistics, spills from Agip Oil alone, we recorded 636 spills in one year.
”In other words, this state is not just the headquarters of oil and gas, this state is also the headquarters of pollution,” Dickson said.
The governor said another challenge is the activities of some youths, who often break pipelines to steal crude oil.
”Unfortunately, our young boys have also added to the environmental problems we are facing in this state.
”They break pipelines to steal crude oil; they sell it to their foreign collaborators while some security agents also collude with them.
”This state and the entire Niger Delta region, and few other states, are suffering from environmental damage arising from oil spillage, gas flaring and pipelines vandalism by our youths.
”We are, however, dealing with the problems in the best way we can and we hope that collectively, the governments of the littoral states will wake up to the challenges,” the governor said.
In Bayelsa, he noted that his administration was passionate about environment because it ”is a common heritage of all mankind.
”An environment spoilt anywhere is a loss to humanity,” he added.
Dickson lamented that since 1956 when oil was first struck, till date, oil companies have been flaring gas.
”They are still flaring gas; gas that should be bringing billions of dollars to us.
”We are still flaring between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of our gas, which is further degrading our environment,” he said.
Also speaking on the efforts of his administration in the area of agriculture, the governor noted that despite the degraded environment, the state government was still make agriculture as one of its ”corner stone.”
”We have a big cassava plantation where we want to be producing starch for both local consumption and for export.
”We have planted the cassava and we are already installing the starch making machines.
”The state also has an ambition to become the headquarters of fishery and aqua culture.
”We want a situation where people will come to Bayelsa to be producing fish in commercial quantity,” the governor said.