Coastal communities in Bayelsa State impacted by the January 16, 2012 KS Endeavour Rig Explosion in Chevron’s oil field have dragged the oil firm to a San Francisco court in the United States of America.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that representatives of victims visited Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniruo Wills, on Thursday, in Yenagoa, the state capital.
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 December 9.
Morris, an environmentalist, noted that the efforts of the Bayelsa State 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 United States.
“We also want to interact with you especially as your ministry also carried out some investigations on the incident.
“Governor Sariake Dickson of Bayelsa State visited Koluama 2 Town Hall on February 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.