Bayelsa asks for UN help on environmental issues


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Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has called on the United Nations to intervene to address the environmental issues plaguing the state and the Niger Delta as a result of oil exploration.

Diri made the appeal at a state banquet in honor of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, in Yenagoa on Tuesday evening.

He called for an urgent rehabilitation of the state’s environment after years of degradation and neglect, according to a statement released on Wednesday by his chief press secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah.

Diri denounced the hardships suffered by the population due to the exploration activities of multinational oil companies, which he said have destroyed the state’s ecosystem.

He drew the attention of the international community to the injustice and environmental despoilment of land that has fueled the nation economically.

He said that despite the actions taken by the federal government to address the problem, they were nothing due to lack of sincerity and lack of political will.

The governor said: “I want to publicly state that our environment which has been violated and degraded over the years is seeking to be remedied.

“The previous administration, due to the level of degradation, decided to set up an environmental commission headed by the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

“His report has not yet been fully processed. We have some of it and we think it would highlight what the people of Bayelsa have suffered, especially at the hands of the oil exploration and mining companies.

“Our environment, in particular our water resources, are highly polluted. Our economic activities have been crippled over the years for the same reason and even when the federal government took action to address it, it feels more like a slap on the wrist. ”

He expressed hope that the state’s partnership with the UN would address most of the issues highlighted and usher in the state’s sustainable development.
Speaking earlier, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Edward Kallon praised Governor Diri for stabilizing and ensuring peace and security in the state, saying there is no development without peace.

Kallon stressed that peace and development are only possible when strong institutions stimulate development.

The UN coordinator also noted that the international body was aware of the injustices inflicted on the region and the exploitation of the populations of the Niger Delta concerning their environment.

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