York Archbishop, Sentamu, warns of ‘environmental genocide’ in Nigeria
Archbishop John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has described the damage done by oil exploration in Nigeria as an environmental genocide.
Sentamu who is an Anglican bishop, serving as the 97th Archbishop of York, Metropolitan of York, and Primate of England said the poor condition of the facilities in Nigeria’s oil producing community would not be tolerated anywhere else, and the companies were ultimately responsible for any spills from their installations.
Speaking to the BBC as part of a commission investigating the impact of multinational oil companies in the southern Bayelsa state, Dr Sentamu called for an end to double standards.
“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.
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 neighbours. 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.”
Dr Sentamu also accused the Nigerian government of abdicating its responsibility to protect Bayelsa’s diverse ecosystem.
The position of Archbishop of York is the second most senior clerical position in the Church of England after that of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England.