Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe (Rivers South East) has tasked the federal government to address the issue of pollution and insecurity for the ongoing clean -up exercise in Ogoniland to be successful.
Abe stated this Thursday while briefing reporters after leading a debate on a Bill for an Act to establish the Federal University of Environment, Science and Agriculture in Ogoniland during Senate plenary.
Said he: “Any clean-up that goes on without first addressing the issue of the continued pollution of the environment is a waste of everybody’s money, because as the clean-up is going on, the criminals will be spoiling the exercise”.
Abbe, however, added that due to public pressure, people want to see the clean-up exercise going on, stressing that “since contracts have been awarded, people want to believe that something is going on not considering the security challenges in the area.”
According to him: “I am aware that contracts for the clean-up of Ogoniland have been awarded. Right now as we speak, the security situation in the area does not provide for a meaningful economic or even contractual activity to go on.
“As we talk now, every day, at least six people are killed in one community or the other. There is no day they are not killing people. Many residents of the various communities have abandoned their homes and ran away due to violence.
“So, in that kind of atmosphere, it will be difficult for me to say there is any contractor somewhere in the bush alone working? I don’t think that is possible at this time, but I know that contracts have been awarded and I believe that it is our responsibility as a nation to address these security issues so that real development can take place”.
Justifying the need for the establishment of the university, the Senator said “In the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report for the clean-up of Ogoniland, there is a provision for a centre of excellence”, adding that “all the functions that the centre of excellence is supposed to do is essentially what a university does”.