A civil society organisation known as Association of Media Practitioners in Oil and Gas Producing Areas of Nigeria, (AMEPROGAS), has lauded the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson for constituting an Environmental Degradation Commission of Inquiry to investigate the years of negative impact of oil exploration of the waterways and lands of the state by oil multinationals.
In a statement contained in a communique signed by AMEPROGAS Team Leader, Pere Botu and Director of Publicity/Human Resources, Iteveh Ekpokpobe, after a meeting of stakeholders which held in Asaba, Delta State capital, urged governors of the South-South region of Nigeria to emulate same geared at making the Niger Delta environment clean and habitable from the incessant effects of oil exploration.
According to the statement, the move by Governor Seriake will go down well in the annals of history as it signifies a clarion call for restoration of sanity to oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
AMEPROGAS said oil exploration has wrecked immeasurable havoc on the health and livelihood of Niger Delta inhabitants without reasonable testimony of benefits for the people hence all oil sector stakeholders must see this as ample opportunity to right the long history of wrongs.
In the same vein, the newly inaugurated members of the commission were urged to vehemently uphold their mandate of bringing succour to Bayelsa state environment.
It will be recalled that Governor Seriake Dickson last week constituted the State Environmental Degradation Commission of Inquiry to investigate the years of negative impact of oil exploration of the waterways and lands of the State by Oil multinationals.
The newly inaugurated Commission of Inquiry is made up of foreign experts, diplomats and forensic experts including the Arch Bishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu as Chairman, the Former President of Ghana, John Kufou, a former in the British Cabinet and House of Lords, Baroness Valerie Amos Brondesbury and a Principal at the Fydow Forensics, Daniel Onifade.
Also on the Commission are the Former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Barr. Wodu Kemesuode, who is to serve as legal Counsel to the Commission, Head of the School of Law, University of Bradford, Prof. Engine Emeseh, Prof. Of Public Economics, University of St. Gallen, Prof. Roland Holder and Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dohou among others.
The Commission which has a life span of Nine months to submit it’s report and such duration can be extended on request of the Commission, has the powers to conduct private hearings, both within and outside the country, “the term of reference of the commission include the conduct of investigation the facts and current circumstances surrounding oil spills and their environmental and human impact. “To that end, the Commission shall (a) establish the facts; (b) quantify the impact of oil spills; (c) determine responsibilities and, where possible, identify those responsible; and (d) make recommendations, including, in particular, on a suitable accountability framework.