Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Peter Kjemprud, has lamented that the slow pace of work at the sites of Ogoni cleanup is generally worrisome and that the cleanup might not be completed as planned.
He stated this when he received members of the Environmental Media Correspondents Association (EMCAN) in Abuja yesterday, saying even with the amount of money awarded, activities at sites are very slow.
The ambassador also said the UNEP report is now seven years old, and since 21 contractors were mobilised to sites, work has not started.
According to him, “Climate change is so enormous that a nation may not know where to begin or end. Coastal erosion in the South and desertification in the North are great challenges for Nigeria. “Norwegian Government supports the cleanup exercise because of the devastating effects on human lives and animals.”
Speaking further, he said they have discovered that lifespan in the area is below average because the environment has been destroyed and polluted by oil.
“The people currently have health challenge, and they are running out of patience, as work on the sites needs to commence in full speed because it’s putting lives in the community at great risk,” he added.
Also speaking, the Deputy Head of Mission, Ingrid Skjolaas, called on journalists to visit the sites of the cleanup to have first-hand assessment and to give comprehensive report of what is happening to the project.
On his part, Chairman of EMCAN, Chuka Oyema, told the ambassador that the association was formed to report and deepen the coverage of what is happening in the environment generally.