Ogoni youths petition Buhari, Trump, others over delay in cleanup
In a petition to the United States President, Donald Trump, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and others, the country’s ministers of Environment and Niger Delta Affairs, the OYF declared that over three years after President Buhari announced the Ogoni cleanup, nothing has been done on recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
OYF President, Yamaabana Legborsi and secretary, Ntormabari Mesua said the manner and processes for the implementation of recommendations of the UNEP Report was contrary to assurances of the Federal Government and recommendations of the UNEP Report.
They pointed out that in the Report, it was stressed that “while the overall environmental situation in Ogoniland needed urgent and focused attention, before cleaning up the pollution and restoring the environment,” UNEP identified several emergency public health and other fundamental measures that must first be addressed.
OYF said some of the emergency measures UNEP recommended included provision of adequate sources of potable water to Ogoni people and ensuring that everyone who has consumed water from contaminated sources is requested to undertake comprehensive medical examination by physicians knowledgeable about the possible adverse effects of the hydrocarbons detected.
The group also pointed out that UNEP had recommended that comprehensive decommissioning of oil facilities that fail an ‘Asset Integrity Management Plan for Ogoni and setting up of an Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre (ICSMC) comprising an Incinerator, Thermal Unit, Soil Washing Unit and a Contaminated Water Treatment Unit.
The centre, which should drive the cleanup exercise, was expected to be a modern industrial enterprise in Ogoniland that would generate hundreds of jobs for people, among other recommendations.
But the OYF said none of these things have been done, rather contracts for the cleanup have been awarded to companies without requisite experience whatsoever in the remediation of oil spills.
It alleged that some of the companies were set up for businesses such as poultry farming, cars sales, textile dealership and fashion, palm-oil production, building design and road construction.
“Rather than commencing the implementation of the UNEP recommendations with the proposed emergency measures, what we have observed and much to our chagrin, is that after the release of each tranche of funds by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) on the cleanup project, the expenditure pattern has not only been fraudulent but also completely at variance with the UNEP recommendations,” it said.
It lamented that after the release of $10 million initially announced by the IOCs, there were cases of financial misappropriation and diversions, which prompted Ogoni youths to sue the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in suit no. FHC/PHC/122/2018.