Ogoni: Federal Government To Adopt UNEP Plan
Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Ogoni/Shell Reconciliation Panel assured the Ogoni that the Federal Government would implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland. It remains to be seen whether the report will indeed be implemented.
Below is an article published by The Guardian Nigeria:
Hope for justice now seems close to fulfillment as the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Ogoni/Shell Reconciliation Panel and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Matthew Hassan Kukah, has assured the Ogoni that the Federal Government would implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland.
Bishop Kukah disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja while responding to contributions made by the Ogoni under the auspices of the Ogoni Generation Next Project (an organisation of young professionals) and leaders, who paid him a courtesy visit on the crisis lingering between Shell and Ogoni people since 1993.
The report, which recommended compensations to the tune of $1 billion for the environmental degradation and pollution suffered by the people as a result of oil exploration in the area, was handed over to the Federal Government in August 2011.
Nevertheless, Kukah said: “I want to assure you that I will get your message and your anxiety over to the President, you should not construe his silence to mean lack of interest. I hope that we can get round the table with the President because if I had known that your group was up to this size, I would have seen whether it would have been possible to see the President.
“This conversation is not for me, it would have been good if the President and the Minister of Petroleum Resources were here because they are the ones that have domesticated the initiative.
“If you remember the last words in my presentation, I said to the President: Mr. President, you gave me a sick child, I have taken the child to the hospital to run some tests, the results are here. I am not the one to tell you which pharmacy to go to because I will be going beyond what my brief was.”
Therefore, he called on the people to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the reconciliation process to collectively articulate their position for lasting peace in the area.
In his address earlier, the facilitator of Ogoni Generation Next Project, Kadilo Kabari, lamented that two years after the report was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan, nothing has been done to clean Ogoni’s “devastatingly” polluted environment.
He said: “The Ogoni environment, important as it is to the survival of Ogoni nation as a people, must not be neglected to the point where the beleaguered Ogoni men, women and children would be forced to resort to self-help.”
He further disclosed that the Ogoni have decided to immortalise the late environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and other fallen heroes of the Ogini struggle, as a way of spurring the next generation of their patriots to utilise their talents in the service of their fatherland.
Also speaking earlier at the event, the Gbenemene of Tai Kingdom and Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, who is also the Chairman Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM, King Godwin N. K. Gininwa, who led the delegation, urged Bishop Kukah to persuade the Federal Government to implement the report.
He said: “Honestly speaking, if you had not intervened and did what you did for us, nobody would have known we have something to claim.”