In Bayelsa State, residents of coastal communities affected by the Jan. 16, 2012 KS endeavour rig explosion have instituted an action against Chevron oil in a Court sitting in San Francisco, United States.
Representatives of the victims of the rig explosion paid an advocacy visit to the Ministry of Environment in Bayelsa on Thursday to seek the support of the state government in the legal action.
The Coordinator of the Lead Plaintiffs, Mr. Alagoa Morris, told the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills that the residents commenced legal action against Chevron in San Francisco on Dec. 9. 2015.
“The Lead Plaintiffs thought it is wise to pay you this advocacy and courtesy visit to formally inform you about the on-going cases in California and interact with you especially as your ministry also carried out some investigations on the incident.” Said the Environmentalist
“Governor Dickson of Bayelsa visited Koluama 2 Town hall on Feb. 27 and made pledge to set up technical and legal committees on the rig explosion to ensure that Chevron was held accountable for the disaster.
“It is the belief of the Lead Plaintiffs that the government meant well and made those laudable pledges in good faith, we are here to seek assistance from the state government through your ministry.
“We wish to benefit from the positive disposition of the ministry in protecting our environment, livelihood and health of victims of the oil industry operations.”
Mr. Morris also commended the Bayelsa Ministry of Environment for lobbying with the Government to seek support for the victims.
Furthermore, he explained that seeking justice in the home country of Chevron in the United States was a viable decision due to the slow rate of justice dispensation in Nigeria.
The commissioner for Environment expressed his regret stating how sad it is that for four years after the incident, the victims were yet to get redress.
Wills commended the steps taken by the affected victims and pledged support for them, saying “We shall continue to assist this cause, I have instructed our legal unit to offer assistance and we shall continue to help with technical expertise as our technical staff will be at your disposal, our doors are wide open to you.”