UNEP Report On Ogoni: It's time for action- FG

VANGUARD Newspaper- Chris Ochayi

ABUJA — The Federal Government, yesterday, established a multi-stakeholders committee to commence implementation of United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report on Ogoliland, declaring that the time to take decisive actions to restore Ogoniland was now.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alision Madueke, disclosed this in Abuja at the Stakeholders’ Forum on Environmental Restoration of Ogoniland.
This came as President of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, demanded full implementation of the report.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government, in 2005 commissioned UNEP to conduct an independent assessment of the environment and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta.
But since the submission of the report, no concrete step was taken by the government to implement the recommendations of the reports.

Stakeholders at the forum organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources include, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Malam, UNEP Special Envoy, Mr. Erik Solhem, Country Representative of UNEP, King Gbenemene of Bangha, HRH, Baridam Suanu, representative of NOSDRA, United Nations , UN, Representative in Nigeria, Dauda Toure, Managing Directors of Shell and Total Nigeria PLC, respectively, among others.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke noted that, “upon consultations with the people of Ogoni land, it has become clear stakeholders have not been properly consulted or incorporated into the implementation processes of the UNEP report.

“Accordingly, government has been deliberately cautious by carefully reviewing the HYPRP structure to determine the best way to rejuvenate the programme to really restore Ogoni land as envisioned in the report.”

She said: “I would also like to point out that as a result of the discussions on the 8th of August that MOSOP very kindly facilitated in Ogoni land with various stakeholders, one of the resolutions of course which was adopted into the discourse here today, was the creation of a multi-stakeholder committee or group out of the five or so entities or bodies that are represented here today.

“Again, this would be put forward in the discourse later today and it is expected that the representatives of each of those bodies, should be put forward and we will take a date for the formal inauguration meeting of that MSC group.

“Let me also make it very clear that despite the setbacks we have encountered and we have encountered quite a few with HYPRP over the last one and a half year, we have focused on this mission with every ounce of decisive determination.

“I think it bears repeating here that, as we all know, I am a daughter of the old River State. I was born in Port Harcourt in 1960, before River State was split into Rivers and Bayelsa.

“Therefore, I will not rest as an individual until this effort is decisively delineated and implemented to the benefits of the people of Ogoni land and by implication to the benefit of the entire nation of Nigeria.

“So ladies and gentle men, I do believe that the time for decisive action is now. Hence we have asked all of you, multi-lateral stakeholders across the board, to join us today to have a very open and inclusive discourse.

“I think that calling on all relative stakeholders to pull our collective knowledge and resources is to the intend that we construct a viable road map and a sustainable one for the comprehensive rehabilitation, remediation and restoration plan that can be effectively implemented to reinstitute Ogoni land for the Ogoni people.

“I am expecting that in due course the learning’s from the Ogoni restoration work that will start in reality I think here today and I do wish that we had done this probably a year ago, can be applied to other parts of Nigeria facing similar environmental degradation problems.”


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