5 June 2018

Nigeria: Why Ogoni Cleanup May Not Begin in August - Environmentalists

Photo: Amnesty International
Boats in Bodo Creek in 2011.

Port Harcourt — An environmental rights group, Social Action, has expressed reservations over Federal Government's preparedness to commence the cleanup of Ogoni environment in August.

Research and Progamme Officer, Social Action, Dumnamene Fyneface, said yesterday that in the absence of any emergency measures recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the construction of the Contaminated Soil Treatment Centre, Centre of Excellence, the cleanup exercise would not progress satisfactorily.

Fyneface said as the world marks the 2018 World Environment Day today, it was crucial to bring the environmental issues in Nigeria to the fore, especially those of the Ogoni and Niger Delta cleanup.

He said the group has been monitoring the Niger Delta environment and the implementation of UNEP's report and was convinced that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and the Federal Ministry of Environment were not prepared for the cleanup and were, therefore, on a mission to 'Cleaning in a Vacuum.'

"We have doubts that HYPREP can undertake any credible and successful cleanup that meets international standards in August 2018 or even its new timeline of September 2018 when certain UNEP recommended preliminary steps have not been taken and the necessary facilities are not yet in place in Ogoniland.

"Our field monitoring report shows that HYPREP is not yet prepared for Ogoni cleanup even by December 2018," he said.

Fyneface hinged his conviction on Federal Government's lack of preparedness and the absence of Contaminated Soil Treatment Centre recommended by the UNEP.

He noted that former Minister of Environment and current Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Muhammed, had in February 2017 laid a foundation for the centre, but the project has been abandoned and the site in Bori currently overgrown with weeds.

According to him, it was worrisome how HYPREP and the Ministry of Environment intended to carry out the Ogoni cleanup exercise without the fundamental facilities in place.

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