Stakeholders highlight way forward for cleanup of Ogoniland

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TRACKING >>Experts have urged the Federal Government to recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report sequentially to achieve the Ogoni cleanup project.

They argued that there are eight key emergency programmes, including health audit registry in Nsisioken/Ogale, provision of potable water and signposts where hydrocarbons polluted the sea to avoid fishing, needed to be put in place, despite the fact that 21 firms have been mobilised to sites.

Acting Executive Director, African Centre LSD, Monday Osasah, told The Guardian that the state of affairs in Ogoniland was pathetic because the inhabitants have lost their sources of livelihood.

He said a few temporary programmes were put in place, while government was yet to implement others like the Integrated Contaminated Land Management Centre.

“Ogoni people need economic empowerment and livelihood packages, work plan, Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration, environmental assessment of the area,” he added.

Speaking, Lawal Amodu argued that land, which hosted oil facilities, has been contaminated with hydrocarbons, while impact of oil exploration has lingered and destroyed farms and fishponds.

He insisted that something should be done about the contaminated land, ground and surface water, sediment, vegetation, air pollution, public health industrial practices and institutional issues.

Also speaking, Chukwuemeka Okereafor submitted that project was meant to bring development to the people, considering the issue of clean up project, and others in the country.

He stressed that the project puts development in context of people, and make it to be own by communities, adding that with this, government would achieve sustainable social change.

Contributing, Omaojor Ogedoh also told The Guardian that people’s capacity should be built as far as Ogoni cleanup was concerned, saying that Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) should be independent to function maximally.

He said the UNEP report has been distorted because the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Oil Spillage Detection Regulation Agency (NOSDRA) have different interpretations of the project.

Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) said it had produced 6, 580 entrepreneurs in Niger Delta host communities since launching the Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) in 2003.

General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, stated this yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at the graduation and award ceremony of beneficiaries of the Southern Swarm Association Gas Solution Enterprise Development Programme (SSAGS/EDP).

The SSAGS/EDP, an initiative of SPDC, operators of the NNPC, Shell, Total, Agip Joint Ventures (JVs), is targeted at the 23 impacted communities of the SSAGS