Ogoni Clean-up: Group Tasks FG on Full Implementation of UNEP Report

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Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

A non-governmental organisation, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), has advised the federal government to ensure the full implementation of the UNEP report on the cleanup of Ogoniland.

The group also urged the President, Muhammadu Buhari to make the Ogoni environmental clean-up a legacy project.

The President of the group, Dr. Douglas Fabeke, who spoke at an event to present their 2022 agenda, lamented the level of degradation in the area caused by oil spill pollution.

He narrated that “UNEP uncovered that families have for years drank from wells contaminated with benzene-a known carcinogen-at levels over 900 times above World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“For decades, our people have, irrespective of being major contributors in oil production in Nigeria since 1958, remained the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. All we have to show for decades of oil exploration and exploitation activities here is a devastated environment.

“Our traditional occupation of fishing and farming are fast going into extinction, but we are here today to change this horrible history about our people.

“The impact of ecological plunder on the people of Ogoni as duly recognised and reported by UNEP has been devastating. The people have not only experienced downward spiral of impoverishment and social decline, but also near-genocide where the communities, citizens, everybody and everything was just dying slowly and surely.”

Fabeke noted that: “Environmental damage in Ogoniland has direct effect on the enjoyment of a series of human rights, such as the right to life, to health, to a satisfactory standard of living, to sufficient food, to housing, to education, to work, to culture, to non-discrimination, to dignity and the harmonious development, to individual personality, to security of person and family, and to peace.”

He urged President Buhari to revisit the area and fulfill his campaign promise to the Ogonis before he leaves office in order to leave a good legacy behind.

Fabeke said: “The people of our community are excited that the process leading to the restoration of our natural environment has been kick-started.

“It is unfortunate that after 30 years, we are still talking about our problems. But I have a dream that one day, beginning from today, Ogoni people shall live the true meaning of their life in their environment.”

The OLI boss stated that he has partners who can fund the implementation of the UNEP report, adding that they only need the approval of the federal government.