Bayelsa State Governor, the Honourable Seriake Dickson on Tuesday expressed concern over the prevalence of cancer scourge in the state and the Niger Delta as a whole.
Governor Dickson made the remark when members of the Delta Ijaw Political Assembly (DIPA) led by the Delta State Deputy Governor, Evangelist Kingsley Otuaro paid him a condolence visit on the death of his mother, Mrs Goldcoast Dickson in Toru Orua, Sagbama Local Government.
A press release by the Bayelsa governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Francis Ottah Agbo, quoted Governor Dickson as noting that the pandemic was traceable to decades of exploration activities of multi national oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region.
According to the Governor, “My mum died of lung cancer. Unlike other families who hide the cause of the death of their loved ones, we took a decision to make it open, to fight the scourge. We were told that the prevalence is higher in the Niger Delta because of oil explorations and attendant pollution..
“We have decided to establish a cancer centre to be named after her. It would not be funded by the government, but through donations. Cancer is a deadly threat to the well being and survival of our people.
“We would like all of you and all people of good will to stop the next death. We have become crusaders against cancer. If there is any male above 50 Who has not done prostrate examination, they should go and test now. Women should also test for cancer especially breast cancer examination.The Diagnostic Centre in Bayelsa is there to be of help.”
In his remarks, the Delta State Deputy Governor, Evangelist Kingsley Otuaro expressed sympathy over the passing ofMrs. Dickson describing her as a great woman who lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation.
Evangelist Otuaro who was also accompanied on the visit by Senator James Manager, noted that they would utilize their platform to promote the cancer advocacy to all nooks and crannies of the Delta State and beyond as the ailment had become endemic particularly in the Niger Delta area.
The Deputy Governor who is the Grand Patron and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of DIPA, said, “I remember very vividly, when you mentioned the health of your mother and little did I know that four days thereafter our mother was going to leave mother earth.
“And when the news broke, like a thunderbolt, we were quite jolted. And so today, we have only come to condole with Your Excellency, the family and entire people of Bayelsa state in particular and then the entire Ijaw nation.
“Conscious of the fact that, Bayelsa state is the Jerusalem of Ijaw land, today, we have lost the mother of Ijaw nation because Bayelsa State symbolises Ijaw nation. Whatever happens to Bayelsa state, affects the Ijaw nation.
“We are also consoled by the fact that, she lived for 72 years of the biblical age of three score and ten. And not only that, she gave birth to a son that was one time Attorney General of Bayelsa state, member, House of Representatives and today, the Chief Executive Officer of the government of Bayelsa state.
“For me and for the entire Ijaw nation, she has lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation, because if not for those upbringings, that strength of character that you have imbibed from her, you wouldn’t have been who you are today. I am convinced that she has gone to rest with the Lord. Take solace in the Almighty God; He giveth and He taketh.
The Chiefs and people of Odioma Kingdom led by its Chairman, Chief Innocent Lister-Nagha as waell as King F. N Okoroakpo of Okugbe-Isoko Kingdom and his council of Chiefs were on ground to commisserate with Governor Dickson and family.
They equally pledged to support the cancer centre.