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Ogoni cleanup has no visible impact, group insists

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Oilwatch Nigeria has lamented that four years after the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, commenced the Ogoni cleanup, the remediation process has no visible impact so far.

The group, which stated this yesterday at its first annual general assembly (AGM) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, lamented that Osinbajo had on June 2, 2016, flagged off the cleanup exercise, assuring that the Federal Government would facilitate the process to save the Ogoni from further environmental hazards.

The AGM, which was attended by 52 participants including academics, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), traditional rulers and community based organisations, among others, also drew Federal Government’s attention to people who had played major role in fighting for environmental justice in Ogoniland, such as the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, demanding that they should be exonerated.

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An environmental activist, Akpobari Celestine, lamented that the Ogoni have suffered for too long in the hands of extractive corporations and the Federal Government, adding that the Niger Delta has been rated severally as the most polluted area on earth, yet nothing has been done to alleviate the sufferings of the people.

“When you take away the livelihood of a man, you kill him, but when you destroy the environment, you kill the masses and that is exactly what Nigeria has done to the Ogoni people and the entire Niger Delta region,” he said.

Also, an environmentalist and Chairman of Oilwatch International, Nnimmo Bassey stated that what the Ogoni were currently going through could simply be described as genocide.

“The total destruction and dislocation of an environment and the livelihood of the people is disheartening” he said, stressing the need to hasten the Ogoni cleanup to produce rapid changes envisaged by the people of the region.

On her part, Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre and host of Oilwatch Nigeria Secretariat, Emem Okon, stressed the need for regular monitoring and documentation of changes in the environment to aid effective decision-making in all sectors.

Acting Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams, said that the campaign was clear from perspective Oilwatch perspective and that if fossil fuel could not be extracted without degrading the environment, it should be left in the soil.

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