Chevron Rig Explosion: Bayelsa communities seek redress in American court

Posted by News Express | 25 December 2015 | 3,036 times

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Residents of coastal communities in Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria, impacted by the Jan. 16, 2012 KS Endeavour rig explosion in Chevron’s oil field have dragged the oil firm to court in San Francisco, United States of America.

Representatives of the victims of the explosion paid an advocacy visit to Bayelsa Ministry of Environment on Thursday to solicit te support of the State Government in the legal action.

Speaking during the visit, Mr Alagoa Morris, Coordinator of the Lead Plaintiffs told the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment Mr Iniruo Wills that the group commenced legal action against Chevron in San Francisco on Dec. 9. 2015.

Morris, an environmentalist, noted that the efforts of Bayelsa Ministry of Environment were commendable urged the government to assist the victims in their search for justice.

He said: “The Lead Plaintiffs thought it 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.

“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.”

Morris said that seeking justice in the home country of Chevron in the United States was necessitated by the frustrations in the slow pace of the judiciary in Nigeria.

Responding, Wills noted that it was regrettable that four years after the incident, the victims were yet to get redress.

He commended the bold steps taken by the impacted communities and pledged the support of the Bayelsa government to the plaintiffs.

“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,” Wills said.

Source: News Express

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