Aug 07, 2013

Ogoni: Nigerian Government Urged To Address Environment Concerns In Ogoniland

After the failure of the Nigerian Government to address the components of a UNEP report on the ecological impacts of oil drilling in Ogoniland, civil society organizations have insisted on action.

Below is an article published by All Africa:

Two years after the release of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) assessment of Ogoniland, the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government and Shell to act on the report.

Godwin Uyi, the Executive Director of the organisation, made the call on Monday at a one day civil society meeting held in Abuja to mark the second anniversary of the release of the report.

Mr. Uyi demanded the Federal Government to demonstrate its commitment to implementing the recommendations of the UNEP report by compelling Shell to clean up its mess in Ogoniland.

He said it was shocking that two years after the UNEP assessment was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan and having set up a committee on its implementation, nothing had been done.

"There is still virtually nothing meaningful on ground to show that the Nigerian government is ready to compel shell to take responsibility for its environmental crimes of ecological disaster in Ogoniland," he said.

The UNEP findings on Ogoniland were released on Aug. 4, 2011, which confirmed claims of ecological disaster by locals' communities and civil society groups. The report also showed hydrocarbon pollution in surface water throughout the creeks of Ogoniland and up to eight centimetres in groundwater that feed drinking wells.

Mr. Uyi, however, drew the attention of the Federal Government to the issues of total neglect of the protection of human life and the survival of Ogonis from what he described as a wrecked environment.

He accused Shell of promoting what he called "cosmetic approaches" to remediation measures recommended by the UN.

"We demand that Shell immediately clean up of all impacted sites to ensure remediation, restoration and compensation," he said.

Mr. Uyi said that to address the recommendation of UNEP, ERA was demanding the immediate release of N1 billion Ogoni restoration fund by the Federal Government and Shell.

Other demands were that shell should commence immediate commissioning of its abandoned facilities in Ogoniland, take responsibility for the clean-up of impacted, sites among others.

Also speaking, Otive Igbuzor, the Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership and Development, called on ERA to adopt multiple ways of fighting their cause, rather than a one way approach.

He said that for civil society to bring change there must be a multiple approach which include political, environmental and social organisation, adding that if there were no such things some people would have sold the country.

He called on ERA to create more awareness and consciousness, adding that through this, they could achieve the desired results.