The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission (BSOEC) was officially established by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, on 26th March 2019. Its mission is to assess the scale and scope of oil pollution and the associated environmental damage in Bayelsa and to propose a framework to prevent future oil spills and ensure that the damage already done is effectively remediated.
The Commission is composed of internationally recognised leaders and some of the world’s leading academic experts on the environmental, social, political, economic and health impacts of oil and gas activity in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
Since its launch, the BSOEC has met with over 500 people inside and outside Bayelsa State and has reviewed extensive existing literature and policy documents on oil spills and oil and gas related pollution in Bayelsa State and has commissioned extensive new field research. The BSOEC’s work has been supported by an international network of environmental scientists and forensic experts, a local expert research team and a network of civil society actors with a long track record of documenting oil related environmental damage in the Niger Delta.
The Commissioners have undertaken three visits to the state, held town hall meetings with representatives from eight Local Government Areas (Brass, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Obgia, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama, Yenagoa),478 conducted on-site visits with a local team of researchers in Southern Ijaw, Aghoro and Yenagoa, and conducted case study research in Brass, Gbarain, Nembe and on bunkering and the Bonga-Koluama spill.
In addition to meeting with communities who have experienced the direct impacts of oil pollution, the BSOEC has also met with professionals from legal, health, oil servicing companies, civil society organisations, and officials at all levels of government, notably at the Ministry of the Environment, along with representatives of regulatory institutions responsible for assessment working in and on Bayelsa, namely the Bayelsa State Ministry of the Environment and state level staff of NOSDRA. The BSOEC has also received a written submission from one of the three main IOCs - SPDC/Shell Group in Nigeria - operating Joint Ventures in the state. Efforts are ongoing to secure oral and written testimony from all IOCs.
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