Nigeria: Governor Diri Tasks Reps On PIB, Says Niger Delta Needs Clean-Up

Governor Douye Diri says the whole Niger Delta region, not just Ogoniland, needs clean-up because of pollution from oil spill.

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has called on members of the House of Representatives to expedite action on passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), as it will correct some of the injustice faced by oil-producing states.

Mr Diri made the call on Tuesday when members of the House Committee on Oil Spill Investigation, Cleanup and Remediation in oil producing states visited him at the Government House, Yenagoa.

He said that PIB, when passed into law, would be an avenue to correct some of the wrongs of oil companies in host communities, adding that the bill had been neglected for long by the National Assembly.

The governor said, "Let me appeal that as you go, have very serious interest in PIB. The bill has been there from one assembly to the other.

"It is another source of ameliorating what we perceive as cheating on the part of oil companies and Nigeria, on the Niger Delta and its people."

Mr Diri said the people of Niger Delta had suffered so much in terms of environmental degradation and pollution of water bodies, leading to an increase in cases of cancer and other strange ailments.

He queried the standards applied by oil firms in their operations in the zone compared with other parts of the world.

The governor, while also calling for the clean-up of Niger Delta as a whole, noted that the Ogoni cleanup, which attracted international attention, was a "fraction" of the polluted environment from oil spills.

"What happened in Ogoniland is the same in the whole of Niger Delta. That there is a cleanup in Ogoniland is, to say the least, a fraction of the Niger Delta.

"So the cleanup should take place in the whole of the Niger Delta," Mr Diri said.

He expressed the optimism that the report of the committee would bring succour to people of the zone, if implemented.

Earlier, Chair of the committee, Amiru Tukur, said they were in the state on a verification mission to some oil spill sites to ascertain the actual cleanup and remediation.

Mr Tukur also said the outcome of the visit would form the basis of the report which the committee would submit to the House.

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