Some oil rich communities in Bayelsa have applauded the State Government for setting up a Commission of Inquiry on environmental degradation to investigate years of negative impact of oil exploration.
Gov. Seriake Dickson had on Wednesday inaugurated a commission to find evidence of oil spillages and damage to the environment of Baylesa and the Niger Delta region.
Some residents, who spoke with journalists in Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area said that the setting up of the commission was good and decried the harmful effects of oil spills to their land.
Chief Otubo Jonathan-Kpeli, the traditional ruler in Azuzuama Community, said that the spillage had caused more damage to their livelihood.
According to him, oil exploitation in the Azuzuama community is no longer a blessing to the people because there are no farm land for them to cultivate.
“The sources of water, which is the rivers have been polluted, we don’t havw portable water to drink except only when we buy water from the city.
“This suffering and smiling, the common aliment here is cancer and kidney disease,” the chief said.
In Ikarama Community, a Youth President, Mr Benjamin Walter, described the spills occasioned by oil exploitation as worrisome to the people.
Walter said that the move by Bayelsa Government to investigate the harmful impact of environmental degradation would go a long way to checkmate wrongs of the multinational oil firms in their host communities.
Bob Keniyinboh, the Scientific Officer, Bayelsa Ministry of Environment said that the cause of spillage was mainly equipment failure of the oil company and commended the setting up of commission of inquiry in the state.
The Commission of Inquiry was made up of foreign experts, diplomats and forensic experts including the Arch Bishop of York.
Others are Dr John Sentamu as Chairman, the Former President of Ghana, John Kufour, a former member of the British Cabinet and House of Lords, Baroness Valerie Amos Brondesbury and a Principal at the Fydow Forensics, Daniel Onifade among others.