Dec 18, 2013

Ogoni: Nigerian Government Ready To Clean Up Ogoniland?

In 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made recommendations to the Nigerian government aiming at eliminating hydrocarbon pollution in Ogoniland. According to the government, some steps have already been taken and it is now preparing for the clean-up.

Below is an article published by This Day Live:

Following the report of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on the degradation of Ogoniland by oil companies, the federal government is set for the cleaning up of devastated areas through  the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) domiciled in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

According to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the ministry  had launched  the execution of  eight emergency measures with material and logistic support from the Bayelsa State Government, some local governments and communities in Rivers State, and a number of corporate organisations.

In preparation for the clean up, the project officials also held  stakeholders meetings across Ogoniland  including a consultative meeting with the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni.

The restoration steps already taken included mounting  of  advocacy signage, provision of drinking water tanks across Ogoniland, development of a medical registry, sourcing of water testing and air pollution facilities and conclusion of clean up work plan and formation of work groups.

Others include donation of lands for  Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration and the Proposed Integrated Soil Management Centre (ISMC), gathering of  commercial and technical information for the detailed design of the clean-up plan and a socio-economic study for the development of a livelihood strategy for Ogoniland.

Aside the seven steps already taken, the project also created Emergency Call Centres, commenced discussion with Johns Hopkins University on epidemiological studies, development of curriculum on environmental hazards , public awareness to highlight the dangers of artisanal refining activities and crude oil theft.

The statement noted further that the restoration project had been repositioned, the technical working groups  established in line with UNEP recommendations and a timely conclusion of all ongoing emergency measures ahead of  the implementation of the various programmes and projects.

The UNEP report  had made a number of recommendations to  the federal government which include establishement of  HYPEP governance structure, creation of operational guidelines, preparation of a detailed work plan and implementation of certain emergency measures  to ensure a seamless transition from the submission of the report to the commencement of full scale cleanup of hydrocarbon contamination.

It would be recalled that restoration project established in July 2012 was tasked with the responsibilities  of investigating and evaluating  all hydrocarbon polluted communities and sites in Nigeria; restoration of  all affected communities and sites impacted by hydrocarbon pollution in Nigeria; and implementation of  the actionable recommendations of the UNEP Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland.