Coastal communities in Bayelsa impacted by the Jan. 16, 2012 KS Endeavour Rig Explosion in Chevron’s oil field hav dragged the oil firm to a San Francisco court, U.S.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that representatives of victims visited Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, on Thursday in Yenagoa.
Speaking during the visit, Mr Alagoa Morris, Coordinator of the Lead Plaintiffs, said that the team’s advocacy visit to the commissioner was to solicit the support of the state government in the legal action.
He told Wills that the group commenced the legal action against Chevron in San Francisco on Dec. 9.
Morris, an environmentalist, noted that the efforts of the Bayelsa Ministry of Environment were commendable, and urged the government to assist the victims in their search for justice.
“The Lead Plaintiffs thought it wise to pay you this advocacy and courtesy visit, to formally inform you about the on-going cases in the U.S.
“We also want to interact with you especially as your ministry also carried out some investigations on the incident.
“Gov. Sariake 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, “ Morris said.
Responding, Wills noted that it was a matter for regret that four years after the incident, the victims were yet to get justice.
He commended the steps taken by the impacted communities and pledged the support of the state government to the plaintiffs.
“We shall continue to assist this cause, I have instructed our legal unit to offer assistance.
“We shall continue to help with technical expertise as our technical staff will be at your disposal, our doors are wide open to you, “ Wills said.
NAN recalls that the offshore oil rig KS Endeavour, run on behalf of Chevron Nigeria Ltd., caught fire on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, while operating in the Funiwa field. (NAN)