NINE YEARS AFTER: UNEP REPORT ON OGONI YET TO RECEIVE ADEQUATE ATTENTION
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) recalls that the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) assessment report on Ogoni was published on August 4, 2011, nine years ago. We also recalled that the audit of Ogoni environment followed years of struggle premised on environmental degradation, economic strangulation and political marginalization of the area which came to the peak with the killing of over 2,000 Ogoni people between 1990 when the campaign was launched and 1995 when a generation of Ogoni leaders including Ken Saro-Wiwa were killed by the Nigeria State.
Thus, with the demand for environmental justice by the Ogoni people seemingly being addressed through the UNEP Report 2011, ADVOCACY CENTRE had thought that nine years after, the report would have received adequate attention to holistically address the issues raised by the Ogoni people in their decades of demands for a pollution-free environment.
While ADVOCACY CENTRE acknowledges ongoing efforts by the government and oil majors to ensuring the clean-up and restoration of Ogoni environment through Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), our monitoring reports still revealed that much more have not been done, nine years after the report and four years since the commencement of activities by the new-HYPREP in 2017.
Emergency measures recommended by UNEP Report is only now being considered with the people not sure of having portable drinking water by end of 2020. Again, the people of Nsisioken-Ogale who have been consuming water with Benzene, 900times above World Health Organization (W.H.O) recommended guidelines before the arrival of UNEP for the 14-Month assessment are still without alternative water sources and have not been placed on a medical registry and their health status assessed and followed up as recommended by UNEP Report, nine years after UNEP left in 2011. Furthermore, with Contaminated Soil management Centre, Centre of Excellence and other basic infrastructures recommended by UNEP not in place till date, it is our opinion that the foundation of a successful clean-up and restoration of Ogoni environment has not yet been laid.
Therefore, as ADVOCACY CENTRE joins Ogoni people and other stakeholders to mark the 9th anniversary of the release of UNEP Report today, we call on the managers of Ogoni Clean-up that they may need to use the compulsory break that COVID-19 presents to re-read the UNEP Report and ensure that their activities are in line with UNEP recommendations. We also called for speedy provision of portable drinking water for Ogoni communities, laying solid foundation that would stand the taste of time for clean-up process and immediate commencement of the construction of Contaminated Soil Management Centre and Centre of Excellence to build the capacity of Ogoni youths especially now that funds is not one of the problems facing HYPREP.
FYNEFACE DUMNAMENE FYNEFACE,
Environmental Justice Activist, Human Rights Defender and,
Executive Director, ADVOCACY CENTRE.