Posted by News Express | 2 June 2016 | 2,610 times
The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for the flag-off the implementation of the UNEP Report on the cleaning of the land. Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, in a statement issued early Thursday morning in the state capital Port Harcourt, said: “It is with utmost pride and joy that we heartily welcome His Excellency, President Muahhamadu Buhari, to our dear State to flag-off the clean-up of Ogoniland in keeping with the UNEP Report. The date 2nd June, 2016 will ever remain historical, epochal and remarkable in the life of every Ogoni son and daughter as well as every Rivers son and daughter as it was the day on which President Buhari once more proved himself as a man of principle, credibility and integrity.
“This struggle started by our brother, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa, Africa’s greatest human and environmental rights activist of international repute, and for which he gave his life, is today fulfilled before our eyes through the efforts of another great son of Ogoni, Senator Magnus Abe.”
Going down memory lane, Rivers APC said about the clean-up exercise: “In 2011, sixteen years after Ken Saro-Wiwa was murdered, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released a damning report stating that vast areas of Ogoniland are unsafe for human habitation due to oil pollution. The report found that, in over 40 locations tested, the soil is polluted to a depth of five metres. Ogoniland’s water bodies are all polluted. The level of benzene in approximately 90 of the locations is more than 900 times above accepted World Health Organisation standards. This dangerously contaminated water is the source of drinking water for local communities. The UNEP Report recommended that $1 billion should be allocated to set up an environmental restoration fund and begin the clean-up. In the four years since the report was published, the Nigerian government simply looked the other way even as Ogoni people buried their dead in worrying numbers every weekend as a result of illness mostly from oil pollution.
Rivers APC hailed Senator Magnus Abe and former Governor Chibuike Amaechi for their roles in making the clean-up of Ogoniland a reality. The party said: “It is on record that Senator Magnus Abe was the Secretary to the Rivers Government under administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi whose office rendered required logistics to UNEP officials and was the part of the delegation to visit former President Goodluck Jonathan in August 2011 to plead for the lives of is people to no avail. Senator Abe did not relent but went to every village in Ogoniland to talk about the UNEP Report and with the help of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, General Buhari visited the Ogoniland during his campaign, where he promised to implement the UNEP Report.”
News Express reports that President Buhari pulled out of the Ogoni trip at the last minute, sending Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who performed the ceremony on his behalf.
•Photo shows Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who flagged off the Ogoni clean-up on behalf of President Buhari.
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