A Non-governmental organization, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) has commenced its second phase of sensitization and enlightenment campaigns on the effects of oil spill in Bayelsa state.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday held as part of activities for the flag-off ceremony, SACA’s Executive-Director, Mr Kingsley Ozegbe noted that the NGO was committed to partnering the state government and other willing institutions in ending the ills associated with oil spills in Bayelsa and other sister Niger Delta states within its operational base.
He emphasized that research carried out by SACA and its partner organizations revealed that any people who live in distances less than 10 kilometers away from sites of oil spill stand the risk of several environmental and health hazards, including diseases and death.
The Executive Director who also gave the timelines of the phases of the sensitization programme hinted that it would run for three years duration, stressing that the maiden edition of the programme commenced in 2022 with sensitization carried out in 16 communities, while a total of 32 communities were expected to be reached by SACA in 2023 for the second phase.
He said: “We’ll be working in 32 communities in 2023 to educate them on the effects of oil spill. People who live in distances less than 10 kilometers from the site of oil spills are vulnerable to both environmental and health hazards, including diseases and sometimes death”.
National Wire learnt that SACA is funded by Misean Cara of the Republic of Ireland and the St. Patrick Missionary Society.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa state Ministry of Environment, Mr Waripamo Martin Amaitari, commended the NGO for its partnership on safety of the state’s Environment through its sensitization against oil spill and other forms of Environmental hazards.
He noted that SACA’s campaigns were yielding positive impacts, mentioning also that between the time the NGO and the Ministry began their collaborations and presently, issues regarding number of oil spills in the state have reduced drastically in the state.
Other collaborating agencies and Ministries in the state with SACA include, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp(NSCDC), the state Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Education as well members of SACA’s Environmental Management Committee(EMC).
In their separate interviews with Newsmen, the NSCDC Deputy Commandant of Corp(DCC), Daniel Omoighe who doubles as the HOD, Critical national asset infrastructure, Bayelsa state command averred that the Corp was glad and willing to continue partnership with SACA, saying just as the NGO has been campaigning against oil spills, the NSCDC core mandate was to secure and protect national infrastructural assets, including securing oil facilities against vandalism.
Some other participants at the flag-off who lauded SACA were, the trio of the Desk Officer for non-communicable diseases of the state Ministry of Health, Dr Tuboulayefa, S.E, and Deputy Director, Department of Secondary School Education, Ministry of Education, Mr Akuna Oweilayefa, as well as the representative of the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Florence Ekeremor, respectively.
In same vein, Community relations and Environmental manager of SACA, Mr Henry Adike has added that during their field work on its sensitization tour of communities, the NGO would also be carrying-out ‘Air Quality Analysis’ of the various communities.