ROTARY INTERNATIONAL NOMINATES BAYELSA FOR GREENWHEEL AWARD OVER ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES ; DICKSON DESCRIBES ROTARY AWARD AS A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT

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In recognition of the activities of the present administration of Bayelsa state government towards addressing the environmental problems as it affects the state, Rotary International has nominated the state for the prestigious Green wheel award .

Rotary International District 9141 in a letter signed by its District Chair, Dr. Okunzuwa Osawaru noted that the activities of Governor Seriake Dickson led administration, especially the recently held programme, ‘Rise for Bayelsa’with the theme; The Environment, Our present, our future, Rotary observed that the inauguration of an 8-member international Bayelsa Oil and Environmental Commission headed by the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu and the visits to impacted communities by the commission attracted the attention of the international body.

According to Osawaru, the Green Wheel award was instituted by our District to recognize “any entity deemed to have fostered the Environment in the Niger Delta states of Edo, Delta Bayelsa and Rivers in the course of Rotary Service year which in this instance is 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.Among other contributions by the Bayelsa state government to the preservation of the environment in our District, we are particularly impressed by the “Rise for Bayelsa” event which was held recently in March with the theme: The Environment: Our present, our future.It was based on these developments that the Organisation decided to honour the
government with the prestigious award.

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Dickson while expressing appreciation on the recognition thanked Rotary International for deeming it fit to recognise the activities of his administration with a with a highly prestigious award especially on issues relating to Environment as it affects the people of the state, .The Governor who was speaking through his Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Ebipatei Apaingolo described the award as a welcome development and assured the Organisation that he would not relent in his campaign until the multinational oil companies operating in the state do the needful.He said his administration is leaving no stone unturned at addressing the agelong environmental degradation in the region.

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Governor Dickson said the environmental pollution resulting from the exploitation and exploration activities of the multinational Oil Companies have reduced life expectancy in the Niger Delta.He said the nomination of the State for the globally recognised award was coming at a period when the present administration is taking a critical look at the operations of multinationals as it affects the people of the state.

It will be recalled that the government recently inaugurated an 8-member Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Degradation Commission headed by a renowned Environmentalist, Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu and made up of distinguished professionals from across the globe.The Commission has as its terms of reference, investigation of environmental, health, socio-economic, political and human damage caused by operations of
multinational oil companies.Also, it is expected to analyse the legislations governing the operations of multinational oil companies in Bayelsa State and in Nigeria and as well establish a set of recommendations that would lead to the development of a new legal framework that ensures accountability.

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The governor, therefore, sought the partnership of the Rotary International and other groups, locally and Internationally in his quest to address the Environmental challenges confronting the people of Niger Delta region.

Also commenting on the honour bestowed on the government by the Rotary International, the Co-ordinator of Rise for Bayelsa Project and Chief Investment and International Affairs Adviser to the Governor, Mrs Funkazi Koroye thanked the Organisation for recognizing the activities of the government on Environmental related issues.She said the present administration is committed to the wellbeing of the people in the state.Koroye-Crooks bemoaned the disposition of the multinationals Oil Nationals to the host communities, noting the dangers posed by their exploration activities.

The award, according to her will further encourage the government to intensify its campaign in ensuring a safe and healthy environment for the residents of the state.

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