Late Ken Saro Wiwa
The Federal Government is on the verge of implementing recommendations by a special team, which it set up last year to review the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Oil Pollution in Ogoniland, THISDAY investigations have revealed.
The team headed by the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had been mandated to undertake a holistic review of the report, which indicted Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and Nigerian government for contributing to decades of pollution in Ogoniland and make recommendations to the federal government on immediate and long-term remedial actions.
A presidency source hinted at the weekend that President Goodluck Jonathan, who received an interim report of the review committee around April this year, identified major areas that would be adopted.
“The government has identified areas in the UNEP report, which would be adopted, based on recommendations by the expanded special review committee. I can assure you that these recommendations would be implemented soon”, said the source.
The federal government has been under pressure by the Ogonis and environmental rights groups, to immediately effect the implementation of the UNEP report, which was released on August 4, last year.
The report said the environmental restoration of Ogoni land could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves were to be brought back to full, productive health.
It added that the clean-up, which might take as long as 30 years, would require about 1 billion dollars initial fund injection, and recommended the establishment of three new institutions to support a comprehensive environmental restoration.
Also, Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, (CEHRD) had in a recent report, accused the Anglo Dutch Shell of deliberately under reporting a major oil spill in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta, noting that the spill "was far worse than Shell previously admitted."
The group, referred to an oil spill in 2008, caused by a fault in a Shell pipeline, resulting "in tens of thousands of barrels of oil polluting the land and creek surrounding Bodo, a Niger Delta town of some 69,000 people.