The Chairman of Bayelsa State Environmental Degradation Commission and Arch-Bishop of York, Dr. John Tucker Sentamu on Sunday raised the alarm over environmental terrorism and genocide facing the state.
The prominent Clergyman said that it would be an understatement for anybody to describe the magnitude of violence done to the environment due to spillages and pollution by the oil firms as degradation.
A statement by the Special Adviser, Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted Dr. Sentamu as having made the comment while speaking to journalists shortly after a Special Sunday Service at the Government House, Yenagoa.
He lamented that the environment had been destroyed because of unchecked pollution, which culminated in the destruction of the people’s livelihood.
He said that he embarked on a trip for about six hours along the waterways without seeing any bird flying because of the violence done to the environment.
He lamented that the environment had been destroyed because of unchecked pollution, leading to the destruction of the peoples’ source of livelihood and eventual death.
The Arch-Bishop who blamed the oil companies for not taking into cognisance the negative effects of their activities, called on the people to speak out and draw international attention to their plight.
He said: “The problem is when you talk about environmental degradation it sounds as if it’s acceptable. In other words, it’s bad but not really too bad whereas genocide is a tough word, you are actually killing.”
“Do you know I went into the river for about four to six hours without seeing a single bird flying anywhere? You would have expected to see them because they should be plenty but the environment and habitat have been destroyed so the people found themselves with all kind of diseases and suffering.
“What is going on is that bio- diversity is not what it should be so we need words that actually express what the truth is.
“You know as I said in my sermon in there, corruption has become a very weak word because it doesn’t tell you who is corrupt or who is corrupting who, I will rather use the word organised theft and organised bribery that what is causing the trouble”.
The clergy who also spoke on the November 2, 2019 gubernatorial election in the state, enjoined whoever emerges as governor to be a humble servant, and not to dominate and enrich himself at the detriment of the people.
According to him, a true leader is known for selfless service to the people, and not for being power drunk and the unbridled quest for wealth.
Credit: Olufemi Lawson Akindele