The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman yesterday in Port Harcourt said the Federal government will on June 2 launch the kick-off of the Ogoni Clean-up programme as contained in the United Nations Environment Programme Report (UNEP).
Usman, representing the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Muhammed during a courtesy visit to Governor Nyesom Wike the minister said the visit was to seek the collaboration of all stakeholders in the clean-up exercise. He said, “The programme is expected to be launched on June 2; it has been designed to be driven by all stakeholders in the region. The essence of this is to ensure that the people of Ogoni and the region at large benefited from the process’’.
Wike, represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, expressed the willingness of the state government to partner the Federal Government in implementing the UNEP report. The governor expressed joy at the commitment of the Federal Government in the UNEP report implementation process.
Dr. Banigo said, “As a state, we strongly reiterate our support towards the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland. We are excited to see the drive of the Federal Government in ensuring that the Ogoni clean-up exercise becomes a reality”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the request of the Federal Government, UNEP undertook a study on issues of environmental devastation in Ogoniland.
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The report which was released in 2011, indicted the Shell Petroleum Development Company, accusing it of massive and systematic environmental devastation and persistent violation of laws governing oil and gas operations.
It covered contaminated land, groundwater, surface water, sediment, vegetation, air pollution, public health, industry practices and institutional issues in Ogoniland.
The study recommended that the environmental clean-up and restoration of Ogoniland is possible but may take between 25 and 30 years to achieve. It also noted that “most members of the current Ogoniland community had lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives”.
The report had compelled Nigerian authorities and multinational oil companies operating in the area to clean-up the pollution caused by decades of oil exploration activities in the area.