Ogoni Clean-up Shouldn’t Be Another Political Declaration, Buhari Advised

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

The Environmental Management Association of Nigeria (EMAN) has called on the Federal Government to ensure that the planed clean-up of Ogoni land in Rivers State sees the light of the day and not another political statement to calm the people of the area.

Briefing newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, the National President of EMAN, Dr. Emmanuel Ating said the clean-up of the area was long overdue and should not be allowed to suffer the same fate like previous exercises in the past.

He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for mustering the political will to embark on the Ogoni Clean-up, noting that it was in line with the recommendation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

“The action of the President is highly commendable but as a professional body, EMAN wishes to advise that the clean-up of Ogoni land not should be politicised. The Federal Ministry of Environment should be transparent in all stages of the clean-up. It is our request that environmental managers should be engaged in the exercise.

“Nigeria should use the opportunity offered in the Ogoni land clean-up to strive to attain the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG ll)”, he stated
Ating blamed environmental crises in country to neglect of development processes in the past which had largely ignore environmental, sociological and health considerations as well as long-term sustainability of the resource base.

“These have resulted in the present environmental, social and health crisis exemplified by land degradation, flood, soil, coastal erosion, water and air pollution e.t.c.”, he said.

The environmental expert also warned the federal government against the establishment of a Climate Change Commission in the country as it might be another avenue in mismanagement or to siphon money.
The EMAN national President expressed fear that the establishment of such commission would weaken existing environmental institutions in the country; and also amount to duplication of functions.

“We wish to state that it is wrong for anybody in Nigeria to contemplate or propose the establishment of a Climate Change Commission. The entire content of the Paris Agreement clearly presents climate change as an environmental problem, hence the emphasis on environmental justice and transparency.

“The establishment of a Climate Change Commission will weaken the operations of environmental institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Environment, Department of petroleum Resources, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.

“The capacity of environmental management institutions should be strengthened through regular training and provision of best available equipment. A Climate Change Commission will only act as a conduit pipe to siphon government funds into private pockets and also promote corruption,” Ating explained.

On the development of the North eastern part of the country ravaged by Boko Haram, Ating called for the addition of a sustainable human development plan to complement the military strategy already in use.

“The application of military option only is counterproductive, because it produces Internally Displace Persons. The military and environmental management strategies should be applied. The success achieved so far by the military is enough for the provision of infrastructure to commence for example a three bedroom bungalow can be built and completed in less than three months.

“This option is more dignifying to the citizens of Nigeria from the North-east than keeping them almost in perpetuity in IDPs Camps to attract sympathy.” he maintained.