MOSOP decries prolonged delay of Ogoni cleanup
Eight months after its ceremonial kick-off by Federal Government, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) says it is gravely disturbed by the slow pace of the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
Spokesperson to MOSOP president, Bari-ara Kpalap, told The Guardian at the weekend in Port Harcourt that Ogoni people were no more comfortable with the delay, as environmental pollution was deepening.
His words: “Government should expedite action on the implementation because environmental pollution in the area is not abating but deepening. The more it remains, the more we continue to die. If you do not hasten the process and actually implement the cleanup, it means that by the time you will start, probably we must have all been dead. And that is why we are insisting that this thing should start.
“Our people are beginning to get very worried about the delay. We are becoming more concerned about this whole process.”Kpalap noted that the initial delay was blamed on the non-appointment of the project coordinator, an exercise that was effected last December, adding that the process of appointing the other departmental heads should not take eternity.
According to him, further delay by the project coordinator to design a programme for the consideration of the governing council would worsen the environmental condition of the oil-rich settlement.
MOSOP said although the government had given assurance that a number of things would commence in the first quarter of this year, it, however, noted that not much had happened in terms of the commencement of the exercise.
Admitting that institutional structures and frameworks needed to be in place for a seamless implementation regime, the spokesman nonetheless frowned on the snail speed pace.
He added: “However, we need to put everything in place so that we do not make any mistakes. But we are very concerned about the prolonged delay in the actual commencement of the cleanup.”
Kpalap revealed that MOSOP had intensified campaign against artisanal refining commonly practised in most of the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.
Kpalap further said: “We have been going from community to community to sensitise the people on the dangers of artisanal refining and we think that the people are keying in. The phenomenon is a whole Niger Delta issue. It is something that is happening in every place and it is not Ogoni-specific.”