Resumption of oil activities in Ogoniland without clean-up will be insensitive, says Mitee
‘How lack of project account is hindering exercise’
Former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, has warned that any resumption of oil production activities without credible clean-up of Ogoni environment will be tantamount to profound insensitivity to the plight of Ogoni people.
He also kicked against plans by the Federal Government to build both prison and cemetery in Ogoniland.
Mitee stated in Port Harcourt yesterday that while Ogoni people are still battling with the non-implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, they are now being confronted with plots by the Federal Government to resume oil exploitation in Ogoni through some firms of doubtful pedigree and credibility without the needed painstaking engagement with the long-suffering Ogoni people.
The former MOSOP leader also said that in a step reminiscent of the country’s profoundly painful past, the Federal Government’s response to agitation by the Ogoni for environmental justice is reported to be a plan to build a prison and a cemetery in Ogoniland.
He, therefore, wondered why must it be that when we cried for justice in the past, the government responded by turning Ogoni into a virtual prison and cemetery, and as they cry today for justice, government’s response appears to be to also give them, this time, a concrete prison and cemetery.
However, lack of a project account for the Ogoni clean-up, 21 months after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo flagged off the exercise, is hindering funding for the commencement of the remediation.
The Guardian gathered that lack of a project account is one of the primary reasons why Shell Petroleum Development Company and other joint venture partners have not remitted the $1billion recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to fund the clean-up in the initial five years.
According to the source, the oil companies have been reluctant to release the $1 billion because they want every amount spent on the clean-up to be duly accounted for.