A non-governmental organization, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) has embarked on a training workshop for.heads of selected private and public schools on the effect of oil spillage on children in Bayelsa State.
The 2-days stakeholders workshop held in Yenagoa was organized by SACA in partnership with the ministries of education, environment, health, the Catholic Education Board and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS).
The workshop with the theme: ” Child Safeguarding Policy Development Forum was to delibrate on ways of preventing children from the hazards of being exposed to oil and gas activities.
In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri appreciated SACA for the laudable initiative targeted at creating a safe environment for the survival of children.
Represented by the Director of Climate Change, Mr. Ere Wakedei, Gbaranbiri said the issue of children safety is of paramount importance to the ministry while pledging the ministry’s willingness to collaborate with SACA to achieve set objectives.
Mr. Kingsley Ozegbe, Executive Director of SACA while giving an overview of the child safeguarding policy urged states in the Niger Delta to come up with a child safeguarding policy to checkmate effect of oli spillage on the safety of children.
He noted that research findings point to the fact that majority of neonatal deaths are caused by exposure to the harmful effect of oil spillage, adding that this calls for the creation of awareness among children and by extension making them directly involved in the campaign against its effect..
He said that with the setting up of child safeguarding clubs in schools, children would be taught to write protest letters to United Kingdom, UNICEF and the UN in seeking their intervention towards bringing to an end the activities of oil spills on the environment.
Ozegbe maintained that most neonatal deaths and births of abnormal children are prone in areas where oil spillage are prevalent and called for all hands to be on deck to reverse the trend.
In his lecture, Mr. Rapheal Okusaga of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society called for the formulation of child safeguarding policy in schools to protect the rights of children.
In a lecture titled: ” Child Neglect: Health Risk Arising from Oil Spillages, a medical practitioner, Dr. Wilcox Izibeya called for communities to undertake research on the health risk associated with oil spills in order to present verifiable evidence to oil company to avoid denial.
Dr. Izibeya further urged government and stakeholders to collaborate with SACA to reduce the devastating effect of oil pollution on the environment.
Participants at the 2-days training workshop commended SACA for its untiring efforts at making sure that children in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta are protected from the devastation caused by oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities.