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Stakeholders lament invasion of Ogoniland by gunmen

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Stakeholders have raised the alarm over the invasion of oil-impacted communities by gunmen in Ogoniland, leading to killings, panic and uncertainty.

They told The Guardian that the residents were apprehensive that security operatives had besieged Khana Council of Rivers State, adding that since inauguration of the clean-up project three years ago, tension had been mounting between government officials, communities and security agencies in the area.

Acting executive director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), Monday Osasah, called on government to intervene in the negotiations over access with oil spill response teams, to forestall pollution.

“Like the communities, government and multi-national firms have roles to play in the clean-up, particularly in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, which must be followed to achieve sustainable and healthy environment.”

He, therefore, urged them to chart more holistic approaches that could engender better working relationship to speed up the project and give new life to the Niger Delta region.

Speaking on behalf of traditional rulers, Chief Kobani Bere said the future of the entire race depended on the project, appealing to government to deliver Ogoni people from uncertain future.

“If the Ogoni project fails, what will be the hope of the region?” he wondered.

He explained that some communities went to court to seek redress for their land, for which government was yet to compensate them, just as he canvassed amicable settlement.

Mrs. Florence Ngerem of Ogale Community told The Guardian that government stopped sending them drinking water 10 years ago. “There is no source of water here,” she added.

Zonal director of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Cyrus Nkangwung, urged the communities to stop oil bunkering, so that the area would be cleaned properly.

“We are responsible for the clean-up of Ogoni. We would monitor the project step by step to ensure that everything used in the exercise is environment-friendly,” he stressed.

President of the Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo
Nsuke, regretted the spate of killings, calling on government to pay compensation to the affected families and communities.


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