From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) has called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
The NGO has also urged the Federal Government to make the environmental clean-up a legacy project of President Muhammadu Buhari.
President of the group, Douglas Fabeke, while speaking at an event, in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni people, in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, disclosed that he has partners who can fund the implementation of the UNEP report.
Fabeke said that what the group needs is only the approval of the Federal Government to invite partners.
He advised the Federal Government to ensure that the clean-up of the polluted sites are cleaned to a reasonable extend before the expiration of President Buhari’s administration, which would be an added mark to his (Buhari) government.
The group’s president frowned at the non-availability of potable water across Ogoni communities and criticized Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
Douglas alleged that HYPREP has not implemented any recommendation in the UNEP report.
Fabeke said: “UNEP uncovered that families for years drank from wells contaminated with benzene – a known carcinogen-at levels over 900 times above World Health Organization guidelines.
“For decades, our people have, irrespective of being major contributors in oil production in Nigeria since 1958, remained the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. All we have to show for decades of oil exploration and exploitation activities here is a devastated environment.
“Our traditional occupation of fishing and farming are fast going extinct. But, we are here today to change this horrible history about our people.
“The impact of ecological plunder on the people of Ogoni as duly recognized and reported by UNEP has been devastating. The people have not only experienced a downward spiral of impoverishment and social decline but also near-genocide where the communities, citizens, everybody and everything was just dying slowly and surely.”
He added that contracts awarded to companies and individuals for the clean up of the Ogoni environment were done as political patronage, insisting that the Federal Government should compensate the Ogoni people for the loss.
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