Aug 06, 2014

Ogoni: President Jonathan Condemned for Environment Inaction

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has criticised the Federal Government over the non-implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report, three years after the declaration of environmental-emergency on Ogoniland. The group’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Legborsi Esaen, while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday [4 August 2014], called on President Goodluck Jonathan to direct relevant agencies to commence immediate clean-up of Ogoni land to save lives.

The following article is from The Nigerian Tribune.

He said the document was yet to draw any serious response from government, adding that oil pollution in Ogoni environment had contaminated both surface and ground water at levels more than 900 times above the World Health Organisation(WHO)-prescribed safety limit.

 “MOSOP is shocked that today (Monday 4 August 2014) which marks exactly three years after the UNEP report on Ogoni land was presented to the Presidency, no arrangement had been made to save what is left of the Ogoni environment.

“The call for the implementation of the UNEP recommendations is already stale news in such that we have exploited various avenues–seeking government attention to the Report’s implementation.

“We are concerned that our community members are still drinking water daily from wells contaminated with benzene–a known carcinogen at levels over 900 times above WHO safety limit,” he said.

Esaen said that about 10 per cent of the detected benzene concentration in Ogoniland corresponded to one in 10, 000 cancer risks and 1,000 times above Nigerian drinking water standards. He said that up to eight centimetres of refined oil was seen flowing on groundwater – which serves the community wells – and their source for drinking water.

According to him, surface water throughout the creeks in the area also contained high level of hydrocarbons which had claimed many Ogoni lives.

“Presently, the death rate of our people who died as a result of cancer related sicknesses is extremely high, especially with very limited cancer screening centres in the country. “It is immoral that after three years of laying these findings to the government; the Ogoni people are still living in the most devastated environmental ecosystem in the world.

 “Our non-violent approach, has it been our strength and weakness. For how long will the government allow our oil and gas deposit untapped?” he asked. The MOSOP spokesman, however, said that the Ogoni people would continue to remain peaceful in their demand to the clean-up of their environment.