Nov 09, 2011

Ogoni: Non-Implementation of UNEP Report Sparks Peaceful Protest

The lack of implementation of the recommendations in the UNEP Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland Report has sparked a peaceful protest of 2,000 people in Port Harcourt against the backdrop of continuing state neglect of the seriously polluted region.

Below is an article published by Tribune:

The placard-carrying multitude, mobilised by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and led by its president, Ledum Mitee, marched through the ever busy Aba expressway to the Rivers State Government House, where they submitted a protest letter to the state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to be delivered to President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the letter of protest, Ogoni people expressed displeasure over the negligence with which a matter as serious as the dire environmental situation in Ogoniland had been treated.

They noted that failure to act aptly on serious issues as the “matter of life and death” as currently exists among the people, which the report had indicated required urgent attention, might lead to a fresh round of conflict in the oil-rich region.

“It has been three months since the report was submitted [4 August 2011] to the Presidency with details that demanded immediate action. Since then we have been told of high level meetings and the formation of inter-ministerial committees but the Ogoni people have not heard from you or the Federal Government.

“As Your Excellency will no doubt be aware, these are not theoretical risks but reports of exposure to a daily hazard for which UNEP recommended immediate actions and health checks in these communities.

“If the cavalier attitude by government and oil company officials to communities across the Niger Delta-especially more peaceful areas such as Ogoni-continues then unwittingly, the seed of a swift and bitter return to conflict would have been sown,” the people noted.

Receiving the protesters, the state’s deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who stood in for the governor, said their message had been received and assured that it would be taken to Abuja for appropriate action.

To read the UNEP Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland Report, please click here.