The people of Sagbama town, Ofoni and Asamabiri communities of Bayelsa State that are hosts to some of the nation’s multinational oil companies have decried the activities of the oil and seismic company that discharge toxic chemicals into the environment.
A community leader, Chief Gbariboulou Martins from Sagbama town, while presenting the ordeal of his people to the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) during a town hall meeting recently, said their activities were degrading their land with its attendant consequence on the health and livelihood of the people.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government’s environmental probe panel constituted by Governor Seriake Dickson early in the year, is currently holding talks with community leaders and stakeholders to access the damage done to the communities in the state and how to address it by proffering lasting solution to it.
Rev. Tony Edafe from Ofoni community told the commission that SPDC has continued to operate in secrecy at the detriment of the people, claiming that they have fraudulently acquired people’s lands and forged a power of attorney that they are owners of the land.
He said over the years, oil companies operating in the area have flagrantly disobeyed the Local Content Act in their operations by not involving the communities in their employment, contracts and also not setting aside the statutory 25 per cent of every project sum for the community.
He said: “We are an oil and gas producing community but as I talk to you, we will not be able to tell you the quantity of oil and gas produced because SPDC has decided to operate in misery and secrecy which is not in our favour.
“The volume of sand dredging in Ofoni is big and there is no environmental impact assessment.From the grapevine, we heard that the projects going on in Ofoni are worth N12 billion but not even one contractor from Ofoni was deemed qualified to get any of those contracts,” he added.