The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has solicited the intervention of the United Nations towards resolving the environmental challenges plaguing the state and the Niger Delta as a result of oil exploration.
Diri made the call at a state banquet in honour of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, in Yenagoa on Tuesday night.
He called for urgent remediation of the state’s environment following years of degradation and neglect, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah.
Diri decried the hardship suffered by the people due to the exploration activities of oil multinationals, which he said had destroyed the state’s ecosystem.
He drew the attention of the international community to the injustice and environmental despoliation of the land that has fed the nation economically.
He said despite measures by the federal government in addressing the issue, they only amounted to nothing due to insincerity and lack of political will.
The Governor said, “I like to place on record that our environment that has been raped and degraded over the years is seeking remediation.
“The previous administration, as a result of the level of degradation, decided to set up an environmental commission headed by the immediate past Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
“Its report is yet to be fully addressed. We have some part of it and we believe that it would bring to limelight what the people of Bayelsa have suffered, particularly in the hands of oil exploitation and exploring companies.
“Our environment, particularly our water resources, are heavily polluted. Our economic activities have been crippled over the years because of the same reason and even when the federal government has taken some measures to address this, they are more like a slap on the wrist.”
He expressed the hope that the state’s partnership with the UN would address most of the issues highlighted and usher in sustainable development to the state.
Speaking earlier, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, commended Governor Diri for stabilising and ensuring peace and security in the state, stating that there is no development without peace.
Kallon emphasised that peace and development were only possible when strong institutions drive development.
The UN coordinator also noted that the international body was not unaware of the injustice meted out to the region and the exploitation of the Niger Delta people concerning their environment.