Following series of complains and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the state, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate as well as streamline the operations of sand dredgers to ensure that the environment is not adversely affected.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment the is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats as well as the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency 1 in the Assembly, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became imperative on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
Ololo said, ” the importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various commmities all around the state. And with those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues.
” Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as for us to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa.
” A lot of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from.
He thanked the participants for their insightful contributions, suggestions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, the Chief Whip Bayelsa State House of Assembly and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Obiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers our communities will be eroded.
Hon. Obiyai also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.