A non-governmental organsiation, (NGO), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni land without further delay.
The organisation made the call in a statement issue by its Communications Officer, Oluwafunmilayo Oyatogun, in Abuja on Monday.
The statement stated that in spite of the severity of findings of the environmental assessment of Ogoni environment by UNEP four years ago, very little had been done in implementing the recommendations.
“HOMEF recalls that President Buhari pledged that his administration would implement the UNEP report.
“This fourth anniversary is a good time for the Federal Government to commence the process in a more tangible manner.
“As we mark a sad passage of four years of inaction on the UNEP report, we believe that further delay will be immoral, unkind and cruel.
“President Buhari has a golden opportunity to fulfil his campaign promise to implement the UNEP report and should do so expeditiously,’’ the statement quoted, Nnimmo Bassey, the NGO’s Director-General as saying.
It will be recalled that UNEP said that the area might require the world’s biggest-ever clean-up, and called on the oil industry and Nigerian government to contribute one billion dollar toward the exercise.
The statement recalled the response of the immediate past administration to the report was the mere setting up of the Hydrocarbons Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP).
It noted that the project which was domiciled in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources – “a key polluter, effectively rendered it dead on arrival’’.
“HYPREP was set up a year after the UNEP report had been issued and its most visible accomplishments have been the installation of billboards on oil theft and ubiquitous signposts in Ogoni communities to keep off their contaminated communities.
“Perhaps the only salutary step may be the ongoing consultations on what to do about the UNEP report a full four years after the fact of its submission,’’ it stated.
The statement stated that while the UNEP Report on Ogoniland was yet to be addressed, other communities in the Niger Delta had demanded for a “Forensic Environmental Audit of their land,
According to it, notably among them is the Egi community in Rivers State.
The statement stated that the call for a forensic environmental audit of Egi land should also be responded to with a Niger Delta wide environmental audit and consequent remediation.
“Further delay passes a death sentence on both the land and the peoples of the region.
“Just as the polluter Shell Petroleum Development Company paid for the assessment of the Ogoni environment, Total Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd., should pay for the assessment of the environment of Egi land.
” Likewise should Chevron, ExxonMobil and others in their territories of despoliation,” it stated.