A leading Anglican cleric in the UK has told the BBC that oil exploration in Nigeria is causing an “environmental genocide”.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who is leading a commission investigating the impact of multinational oil companies in Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa state, said the poor condition of facilities would not be tolerated anywhere else, and the companies were ultimately responsible for any spills from their installations.
Dr. Sentamu also accused the Nigerian government of abdicating its responsibility to protect Bayelsa’s diverse ecosystem.
He added, “People talk about environmental degradation. I think that’s too weak a phrase. For me, really, as I’ve looked at the environment and as I’ve looked at people’s lives, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a very slow environmental genocide really, in the end.”
He said the situation was not just a local issue: “I may have come from Uganda, I may now be living in the United Kingdom, but we live in a global village. These are my neighbors. I’m absolutely concerned about their well being. And when you see the poverty, a country that produces so much oil and you look [at] the conditions which they’re living, it’s just shocking.”