Governor Adams Oshiomhole says there is urgent need to clean-up areas polluted by oil exploration and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta to prevent diseases that may be induced by environmental pollution.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to him by the Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator, President Amnesty Programme, Brig-Gen Paul Boroh (rtd), on Wednesday, the governor said oil companies do not pollute their environment in developed countries and wondered why “this same company will come to Nigeria and compromise our waterways and destroy our lands and compromise the environment, creating a challenge. My fear is that the damage we are doing to the environment today, by the time oil dries up there will be no resources to reclaim the environment.
“I am sure if nothing is done in the next couple of years, we will begin to see some kind of strange diseases including all kind of cancers and environmentally-induced diseases that will shorten the average life span of the people that live in those affected areas.”
The governor said people should be discouraged from vandalizing oil piplelines, maintaining that “everything must be done to educate and to enlighten our people to recognise that vandalizing pipelines, resorting to illegal refineries in the crude way they are doing, the damage they are doing will impoverish our people for a long time and by that time, there would be no oil money to regenerate the land.
“We must encourage our young ones not to resort to violence or resort to vandalizing our pipelines because that would just compound the poverty with huge health implications for our people.
“So whatever you can do, I trust as a senior though retired but not tired military officer, from what you have said, trying to clean up the records and ensure that public fund is used specifically for those who are meant to benefit and doesn’t just become a window for diversion, whatever support we can extend to you in Edo State, you can take it for granted and I am convinced that everybody must support you to succeed in the interest of our sub-region.
“We are trying under the South-South BRACED Commission to develop an economic bloc so that we can take advantage of our natural endowment to integrate the economy of our states and ensure that people concentrate in their area of comparative advantage and maximise the enormous opportunities that exist in our sub region.”
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brigadier General Boroh (rtd), said, “I am particularly pleased to be here. I decided to start my working tour to the Niger Delta region in Edo State to bear witness to your joint strength in transforming the ancient city of Benin while retaining its unique pre-historic assets and cultural heritage.
“I am here to see you as a major stakeholder and political leader in the region of Niger Delta and I am also here to apprise you with the development of the amnesty programme. We are at the last phase of the programme; the reintegration phase, to achieve sustainable reintegration of ex-agitators. I am very happy that a reasonable number has been empowered and their capacities have also been developed. All we have to do is to ensure that they are reintegrated.
“Of late, you hear some of the beneficiaries complain of lack of payment for their school and stuffs like that. It is due to this noble policy of central control system which I really like. We do our paper work without problems in our offices but when it gets to the central bank, they take their time painstakingly to ensure what is released is what is expected at that end. It is to curb fraud. There had been too much of mismanagement I observed when I took over this office, so I like this policy and I tell the institutions where the beneficiaries are schooling as well as the beneficiaries to be patient, their monies will definitely come to them. We are taking our time to ensure that what is released is what is expected at that end.”