Bayelsa oil commission to hold public evidence hearing

AS part of its mandate to curb the environmental degradation and pollution, the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) says it has concluded arrangements to hold a public evidence hearing session with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Yenagoa, the state capital.

According to the Director General of the Commission, Reverend John Sentamu, the CSOs roundtable is an interface meant to deepen the work of the commission.

Dr Sentamu who is already in the country for the meeting said the meeting is intended to investigate the environmental and human damage caused by the operations of oil companies in the State.

According to a statement he issued in Yenagao “members commission will undertake on-site visits to some communities in Southern Ijaw and Brass local government areas as well as hold sessions with legal and health experts and groups before having another public evidence session with impacted communities and individuals on Friday, May 24.

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“Communities and individuals negatively affected by oil spills are expected to present evidence to the commission on how they have been impacted.

“Those who wish to attend or present evidence during the evidence session are requested to pre-register at the Ministry of Environment at the state secretariat complex on or before May 22.”

It could be recalled that the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, inaugurated the commission in March 2019 with a nine-month timeline to develop a set of informed recommendations that will lead to the development of a new legal framework that ensures accountability in oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

Explaining further he said: “The commission also has the mandate to develop an action plan for implementation to ensure a healthy environment by ensuring appropriate clean-up and remediation of impacted sites and those host communities receive sufficient compensation for the impacts of environmental pollution and degradation while reaping the benefits of oil within their communities.”