14 February 2013

Nigeria: UNEP Seeks Ban Over Usage of Ogoni Surface, Underground Waters

The United Nations Environment Progaramme (UNEP) has called for the placement of a total ban on the use of both surface and underground waters in the entire Ogoni land.

The called according to the National Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPEREP), Mrs Joy Nunieh-Okunnu was predicated on fact that contaminated underground waters was spreading in the entire area at an estimated speed of 1.5 kilometers per annum.

It would be recalled that UNEP last year released to the federal government a comprehensive scientific report on the extent of the damage caused by oil spill in Ogoni land.

Speaking at the site tour of some of the affected communities of the Ogoni land where the oil spill has done serious environmental damage, the coordinator said the ban includes the pipeline water that passes through the entire land.

She said for the first time, there would be a total restoration project of the land in the history of the country.

Mrs Nunieh-Okunnu said alternative arrangement was being explored to bring tank water from other part of the states for use in Ogoni land before the total cleanup of the soil in the area.

According to her, the main objective of the HYPEREP was to implement the actionable recommendations contained in the UNEP report on the Ogini land. This according to her include restoration of the land polluted in the Ogoni and to investigate the sources of the pollution, especially benzene which is more common in the area.

She said treated water from Rumola using brand new water tankers would be supplied to the communities on daily basis as a short term measures. In the long run, to provide a master plan for water supply, clean up the ground water, and try to clean up the surface water and be able to have a regional water supply programme in the community.

She urged the communities to cooperate with the official of the Project and ensure that they reported any new pollution in their communities.

The Chairman of the Eleme Local Council, Oji N. Ngofa commended HYPEREP saying it has the potentials of restoring clean environment in the Ogoni land.

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