Ogoni clean-up may last 50 years, says Norwegian envoy
Considering the slow pace of work at the sites generally, the Ogoni clean-up might take up to 50 years to complete, Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Peter Kjemprud, has said.
He stated this on Wednesday while receiving members of Environmental Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) led by the chairman, Chuks Oyema, in Abuja.
The envoy noted that the Norwegian government was in support of the exercise because of the devastating effect on humans and animals.
“Imagine the people drinking polluted water,” he lamented.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report is now seven years old, and since 21 contractors were mobilised to site, work has not started, he stated, adding: “We are concerned about the clean-up project in Niger Delta.”
According to him, climate change is so enormous.
His words, “At times a nation may not know where to begin and to end; coastal erosion in the south and desertification in the north are great challenge for Nigeria.”
“We discovered that lifespan in the area is average because the environment has been destroyed and polluted by oil. The people are having health challenges, and they are running out of patience.”
From Kjemprud’s observation, the Ogoni clean-up project might take longer than the projected 30 years by UNEP report, if the snail speed persists.
The Deputy Head of Mission, Ingrid Skjolaas, called on the media to visit the clean-up sites for first-hand assessment and to give comprehensive reportage of what is happening to the project.
Earlier, the EMCAN chairman had told the ambassador that the association was formed to deepen the coverage of what is happening in the environment generally.
“In 2019, Norway increased support to UNEP, which is committed to 30 per cent reduction in Green House Gas (GHG) emission by this year, a return to the 1990 levels. We want to learn from Norway,” he added.
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