Ogoni: Stakeholders demand urgent implementation of UNEP report

THE PUNCH Newspaper

Stakeholders in the strengthening of oil revenue management in the Niger Delta Project have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure quick implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme report on oil spill in Ogoni.

The President has already approved the constitution of a special committee to review of the report and make recommendations to the Federal Government on immediate and long-term remedial actions.

The Committee to be chaired by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, was given two weeks to conclude the job and report back to the President.

It will be recalled that as soon as the president received the report, he directed the Minister of Petroleum and her Environment counterpart to undertake an immediate appraisal of the report.

The damning report, which revealed that the environmental degradation would take 30 years to clean up also put the cost of cleaning the environment in the area at over N150bn. It also indicted Anglo Royal Dutch oil company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, for criminal neglect of Ogoni communities during its years of operations there.

In the latest effort to ensure that the Federal Government does not abandon the document, the stakeholders, most of whom are delivery agents of the revenue management project, advised the Federal Government to speed up the process and ensure that concrete steps were taken to fully implement the recommendations in the report.

The stakeholders involved in the project being implemented by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, were drawn from the civil society, the media, academia and government.

In a communiqué issued after a meeting to review the three-year project, which is expected to end in September 2011, they called on the National Assembly to consider a comprehensive reform of the oil and gas industry through the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

During the interaction on the project being supported by the Norwegian Government, EED Germany and the Swiss Government, the participants also tasked civil society organisations working on transparency, budget processes and good governance issues to strengthen their cooperation in order to demand the domestication of the Freedom of Information and Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Acts in the Niger Delta.

The 18 participants in the communique noted the success recorded by the project, its impact and challenges, and also applauded the political will from some of the Niger Delta governors to drive sustainable development in the region. They also observed the need to sustain the project.

Commending some states for doing well by putting a good number of good governance laws in place such as the public procurement law, fiscal responsibility law, among others, they, however, condemned others for their profligacy and mismanagement and the resolve to borrow more from the capital markets even when they were yet to account sufficiently for the huge oil revenues accruing to their states.


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