Ogoni clean-up: Group wants environment minister sacked
Posted by News Express | 24 December 2021 | 468 times
•Minister of Environmental, Sharon Ikeazor
By BLESSING IBUNGE, Port Harcourt
A Non-governmental organisation under the aegis of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) has called for the immediate sack of the Minister of Environment, as well as the dissolution of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) board over alleged compromise in the Ogoni cleanup exercise.
The group made the call yesterday during a town hall meeting in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, the President of OLI, Dr. Douglas Fabeke, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend further payment to HYPREP, alleging that the agency has not judiciously used the fund released for the cleanup.
He said: “Ever since the establishment of HYPREP, there is no single UNEP report and recommendation that has been effectively implemented. All the impacted sites are still as there were. There is no provision of portable drinking water after decades of pollution of Ogoni source of drinking water.
“No central office of HYPREP in Ogoniland to enable the people to have access and be abreast with the activities and programmes of the agency. Contracts are awarded to companies and individuals as political patronage, and to cleanup Ogoni environment, there is no establishment of ‘Centre of Excellence’, neither is there any general registry of the Ogoni people to ascertain their health conditions as recommended by UNEP.”
Fabeke expressed worry that the Minister of Environment, who is expected to take action against HYPREP, had remained silent on the matter despite her several visits to Ogoniland.
He cautioned the Shell Petroleum Development Company and other companies in Ogoni communities claiming to repair pipeline, to stay clear from the oil facilities in any of the Ogoni communities.
The leader of the group said the Supreme Court judgement on the ownership of OML11 made it clear that Shell does not have any right to step on any of the oil site nor pipeline.
Fabeke said the organisation has taken a bold step “to recover all the blessings of the Ogoni people acting on the Ogoni Bill of Right presented to the Nigerian Government.”
Earlier, stakeholders at the meeting, mostly indigenes of oil-producing communities in Ogoni, presented a final resolution on the oil resumption and community development in Ogoni.
Some of the resolutions are that:
“There should be a clear master plan of environmental restoration and management, considering that all host communities are plagued with environmental degradation and pollution.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria should therefore partner an international agency to expedite actions and clean the land in line with the recommendations of UNEP as contained in the UNEP report.
“There should be established in all the six kingdoms of Ogoni clean drinkable water with water treatment plants of international standard as recommended by UNEP report.
“There should also be a reintegration of Ogoni refugees in Benin Republic and other countries in the world into the society through building of houses, empower and provide good welfare packages for them.” (THISDAY)