The paramount ruler of Kaiama community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, HRH Jerry Burutolu, has raise alarm over the possibility of the Niger Delta region being submerged in a few years’ time.
Burutolu made this revelation on Saturday during an interactive session between the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) and stakeholders at the Kolokuma/Opokuma council secretariat.
He submitted that over 50 years of oil exploitation and continuous degradation has placed the region below sea level, making the region vulnerable to perennial flooding.
The visibly angry monarch said multinational oil companies lied that when oil is removed, it is replaced with water.
“They said when oil is removed, it’s replaced with water but I disagree because the water is not as thick as the oil. 50 years of drilling has moved the region below sea level. Their activities has killed our aquatic lives, bushes, and our farmlands.”
On the epileptic supply of power in the country, he said with its enormous gas reserves, the Niger Delta does not need to depend on the national grids, adding that the gas can feed all the states in the region.
“We have a lot of gas, we don’t have to depend on the nation’s power supply, when you have power supply it will naturally solve other issues. We are suffering so much because of the oppression of this oil company,” he said.
Reacting during a media chat, representative of the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Michael Watts, confirmed that it’s not difficult but a critical task to provide power to communities in the region, noting that it takes political will, stressing that government must live up to their responsibility.
Watts, who commended the people for making themselves available for the session, said there is hope for the people of the region if oil companies changed their attitude.
He further stated that there’s need to ensure safety in the oil and gas industry.