Bayelsa State Government has charged relevant organizations to rise to the challenge of protecting the environment from issues of oil spillage which has affected coastal communities and destroyed aquatic lives.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson who gave the charge when he received executive members of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigerian Environmental Society, NES.
According to him, the government of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson is very concerned about the activities of multinational companies, especially in the area of oil exploration.
He expressed the willingness of the government to partner with groups that will be at the forefront of agitating for a safer environment for all.
The Commissioner assured that as part of efforts to protect the environment from further degradation and confront the climate change, the government in conjunction with the NES would increase its advocacy to ensure that stakeholders become more aware of their various responsibilities.
He said, “We need professional bodies like yours to be in the forefront of championing this issue of environmental degradation. It is when responsible bodies like yours with the support of government come out strongly against it that we will get the needed attention.
“For us as a government, we are willing to partner with you to sensitize our people and draw the attention of the oil companies to the pollution they have done to our environment and seek ways to address it.”
Mr Iworiso-Markson insisted that the Bayelsa environment has been repeatedly reaped and vandalized in the last fifty years due to incessant oil spillage which has polluted the water and poisoned the land.
He said the direct consequence of environmental decay is that farmers and fishermen could not make ends meet and are exposed to life-threatening diseases.
The Information Commissioner also assured the group that as experts the government will include them in panels and committees relating to the environment, so they could make useful inputs for the overall good of the state.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Bayelsa Chapter of NES, Oyibo Charles commended Mr Iworiso-Markson for the professional way he has handled the responsibilities of his office since his appointment as Commissioner for Information and Orientation.
Mr Oyibo appealed for a closer working relationship with the state ministry of Information in order to bring the issues of public interest pertaining to the environment to the front burner of National Discourse.
He explained that the Bayelsa Ecosystem deserved urgent attention and insisted that only collaborative efforts among relevant stakeholders would save the environment.