Ten months after the Nigerian government launched the clean-up of Ogoniland, actual work is yet to commence in the communities, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, has said.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in June 2016 flagged off the oil spillage clean-up exercise amidst an elaborate ceremony in Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, said almost six years after the UNEP report, “not a drop of oil” had been cleaned in Ogoniland.
“As we speak, there has been no serious effort to manage the expectations of the Ogonis. While some believe that the clean-up process is a money-making venture, others are facing difficulties to pursue the clean-up process,” Mr. Ojo said at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
“Authorities responsible for the clean-up should come up publicly, provide a template for the clean-up and a step by step blueprint on how it would progress. The media is even kept in the dark, for example, no one knows the effective date of the clean-up process, and this is not good enough to manage the people’s expectations. Not everyone is being carried along at the moment.”
A United Nations Environment Programme scientific study released in 2011 exposed the large-scale, continued contamination of the water and soil in Ogoniland, and the serious threat they pose to human health.
In one case, UNEP found that a community drinking well was polluted with benzene, a cancer-causing substance, at levels 900 times above the World Health Organization guideline.
The report presented to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, on August 4, 2011, was, however, not implemented throughout the life of Mr. Jonathan’s administration.
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