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12 Nov 2019

Bassey Willie, Daily Trust (Nigeria)

Nigeria: Oil spills may kill around 16,000 infants in the Niger Delta annually within their first month of life

‘Oil pollution: 16,000 infants at risk in N/Delta’ 4 November 2019

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission, has said that oil and gas pollution caused by the activities of multinational oil companies puts over 16,000 infants living in Niger Delta region at risk annually. The Chairman of the commission and Archbishop of York, England, Dr John Sentamu, who disclosed this over the weekend while presenting the interim report on the Commission’s findings to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, indicted oil companies operating in the region, describing their actions as ‘‘nothing less than environmental genocide’’.

He said that the Commission, working alongside industry and environmental experts to investigate the impact of oil spills and the environmental and social damage done by International Oil Companies operating in Bayelsa State, discovered that oil companies are heaping environmental devastation on the people of the region…“It is estimated that the consequences of oil spills may kill around 16,000 infants in the Niger Delta annually within their first month of life. “Our environment knows no bounds. We are all global citizens. It would never be acceptable to cause such environmental devastation in Europe or America, and accordingly, it should never be acceptable in Africa or South America.

…“Since the first oil well was drilled in Nigeria by Shell in Bayelsa in 1956, Bayelsan’s have rarely benefitted from oil. We have faced the destruction of our environment, rivers filled with oil, our farmlands destroyed, and a host of health problems including the on-going deaths of our children.