ABUJA—A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, on Thursday, expressed concern over delay in the execution of the proposed clean-up of oil spillage in Ogoniland, despite the availability of $177million that International Oil Corporations, IOCs, released for the exercise.
Ogoni land, polluted with oil spills
The group, led by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, urged the Federal Government to speed up the procurement process of selecting contractors and deploying them to engage in the clean-up process.
In an address he presented at the 2nd Annual National Summit on the Niger Delta Clean-up, held in Abuja, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mallam Auwal Musa, noted that field observation and scientific investigations the United Nations Environment Project, UNEP, conducted since 2011, revealed that oil contamination in Ogoniland was widespread and severely impacted many components of the environment.
He said: “The Niger Delta region occupies a central place in the political economy of Nigeria. The region remains the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. But unfortunately, as a result of oil exploration and exploitation, the Niger Delta’s physical, political, social and moral environment has been completely destroyed.
“The livelihood of the people have been destroyed and the region is in economic crisis with high levels of insecurity, cult activities, brigandage, kidnapping, and unwarranted killings.
“Over the years, the response of the government to the crisis in the Niger Delta characterized by legal response, military response, project response, and agency response has failed to arrest the underdevelopment and environmental degradation of the region.
“We have consistently argued that any approach for the development of the Niger Delta must focus on three issues: Human Development, Justice and Equity.
“For us, the entry point is environmental governance in the Niger Delta. It is only through environmental governance that laws, policies, and procedures will be implemented to achieve a healthy and sustainable environment in the Niger Delta.
“It is through good environmental governance that the key stakeholders (government, oil companies, local communities, and citizen groups) will be able to perform their roles to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment. It is through good environmental governance that we will be able to eliminate conflict and environment entrepreneurs who feed on the crisis in the Niger Delta.
“The Ogoni clean-up exercise provides an opportunity to establish the basis for good environmental governance in the Niger Delta”.
He said the UNEP report had emphasized that the environmental restoration of Ogoniland could take 25 to 30 years.