Following the recent oil spill in Nembe, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have advocated for a declaration of state of environmental emergency in Bayelsa State.
Led by Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), the CSO, stated this after a visit to Santa Barbara River, Nembe where the Aiteo oil spill from the Oil Mining Lease (OML 29) Oil well occured.
Other members of the CSO were Niger Delta activist and Executive Director of Agape Birthrights Organisation, Annkio Briggs, King of Ekpetiama Kingdom, HRM, Bubaraye Dakolo, among others.
The visit to the site almost did not hold as Naval personnel providing security around the facility refused the entourage to access it and kept the three speed boats conveying the team on the waterways for over an hour, insisting that only Aiteo can give clearance for the team to visit the site.
Bassey while lamenting over the situation, described it as the “overbearing influence of oil companies” on military arrangement in the Niger Delta, saying g that it was unacceptable.
According to him, after the stoppage of the leak at the well, serious efforts should be on to ensure proper clean-up and remediation measures.
He said the Nembe oil spill is the climax of spate of oil spills in Bayelsa State which require a special status as the most polluted state in the world.
“We call on the Federal Government to declare a state of environmental emergency across Bayelsa State. Bayelsa is the most polluted state in nation. It could even be the most polluted state in the whole world. Every time there is one spill going on in Bayelsa.
“This Aiteo well blowout is the climax of all the ravages going on in Bayelsa. All resources should be mobilized to help the people of Bayelsa. NOSDRA should b empowered to do its work. NEMA should have been here. They should have set up a major infrastructure to watch the environment and begin a clean-up of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta following the template set up by UNEP in Ogoni”.