Ogoni: Clean-up Programme Should Be Used to Create Youth Employment, Activists Say
Photo Courtesy of: Akintunde Akinleye 2011 @Sweet Crude
Environmental activists have urged the Nigerian federal government to use the oil spills clean-up process to create jobs in the Niger Delta region. The clean-up programme was officially launched in June 2016 and is seen by many as a chance to drive development among Ogoni communities devastated by contamination from oil spills and tackle in particular the “alarming rate” of youth unemployment in the region. If this opportunity is seized, the UNEP-recommended programme could kickstart a sustainable and green development of Ogoniland. However, its current implementation by the authorities lacks commitment and government oversight, activists say.
Below is an article published by The Whistler:
Following the launch of the Ogoni clean-up exercise in the Niger Delta region, the Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth, ERA/FOE, has advised the Federal Government to use the opportunity to create employment for youths in the region.
Dr Godwin Ojo, Executive Director ERA/FOE, made this known on Thursday [25 August 2016] during a workshop and advocacy for community leaders and stakeholders on oil spill remediation and generation of green Jobs, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
Ojo, who was represented by the Bayelsa Project Officer, Alagoa Morris, stated that the pressure for clean-up is high and with the alarming rate of unemployment among youths, it would have a multiplied effects on the livelihood by involving the youths in the clean-up exercise.
He noted that the environment could be a means of creating green jobs to the unemployed youths in the Niger Delta region.
“While the cost of clean-up is high, it is the preventive measures that are more relevant to forestall future occurrences.
"We, therefore, call on the government to mobilise and train the youths to be involved in the oil spill clean-up process through the use of bio-remediation techniques,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued after the workshop, community leaders identified equipment failure, corrosion and negligence on the part of multinational oil companies and pipeline vandalism as the main causes of oil spillage in the Niger Delta region.
Lamenting that environmental degradation and displacement of means of livelihood have been the bane of oil activities in the region, community leaders also expressed concern that while oil spillage, gas flaring and gas leaks are on the increase, clean up are not forth coming due to the weak oversight functions of government agencies.
They advocated the establishment of a clean-up and remediation fund of 100 billion USD to be set aside to commence the clean-up of the Niger Delta.
On 2 June , the Federal Government formerly launched N1Billion clean-up of oil spills in Ogoni, Rivers state, Nigeria, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.