By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, at the weekend raised the alarm over the devastation caused by the pollution of the Niger Delta environment, especially in the state, stressing that it has led to rising cases of terminal diseases such as cancer.
The governor, in a live broadcast on radio and television in Yenagoa, noted that he had already appointed a high-powered group of scientists which has submitted a preliminary report on the effect of oil spillages causes by multinational oil companies and recently worsened by illegal refiners called â€˜kpo fireâ€™.
The governor said aside the total neglect of oil-producing communities in the state and the entire region, which is unacceptable, the slow death occasioned by the effect of the exploitation of oil called for emergency action.
According to him, â€œWhat is going on is worse than lack of electricity and other things in those communities. What is more worrisome is the health implication of the years of exposure to chemicals .It has reached an alarming level.
â€œIn some places, you canâ€™t breathe. You need to cover your nose always. Our people still drink rain water or from creeks which has been polluted by these companies.Â I have appointed a high-powered forensic team, they are taking blood samples of our people in all the communities; soil and water samples.â€
He explained that when work is concluded on the study, it will become public knowledge on how the people of the region were being slowly killed by environmental pollution.
Dickson said: â€œThe scientists will announce the results soon. What is going on is a gradual extermination of our people. Our people are being poisoned slowly. The issues are beyond that of â€˜thereâ€™s no lightâ€™.
â€œIf you are dying, whatâ€™s the purpose of light? Thereâ€™s an upsurge in cases of cancer; all kinds of ailments for which there is no cure; there are deformities and low capacity to reproduce children. Even beyond economic issues, our lives are in jeopardy. We have to protect our environment.â€
The governor, who is also the Chairman of South South Governorsâ€™ Forum, reiterated his call for urgent remediation of oil spill sites, stressing that the health implications arising from such pollution had reached an alarming level.
Â On the ongoing reforms in the state civil service, the governor said he had directed the Civil Service Commission to commence the process of recruiting 1,000 young graduates, cutting across the eight local Government areas of the state.
He added that candidates would write an entry examination to qualify for employment, insisting that the assessment had become imperative as part of efforts to promote efficiency, competence and discipline in the public service, as the ongoing reforms is geared towards strengthening the service.