Amnesty, others seek cleanup of Ogoni polluted sites
The Environmental Rights Action, Amnesty International, and Friends of the Earth Europe have called for the immediate clean-up of Ogoni in Rivers State.One year on from when the implementation of a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland was officially supposed to begin, the communities of the Niger Delta are still waiting for clean-up to start.
Since the current President, Muhammadu Buhari was elected the governing structures for the UNEP implementation have been put in place and a coordinator was appointed to lead HYPREP, the implementation agency.
But six years after publication of the UNEP Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland very little has happened to improve the situation: communities in Ogoniland are still waiting for clean-up and still waiting for the clean air, water, and land they need; only one per cent of the promised funds have been made available: a reported $10million of the required $1billion budget has been transferred.
Some communities where UNEP found contaminated drinking water wells have never received any alternative source of drinking water; Shell continues to use the discredited RENA clean-up process, despite UNEP’s clear recommendation that the process was ineffective and should be discontinued.
The company also says it has revisited 15 oil spill sites identified by UNEP, and carried out further remediation at 6 of those sites. But this is misleading because UNEP found contamination at more than 50 Shell locations.
Meanwhile an Amnesty International investigation found that heavy contamination remained at four oil spill sites identified by UNEP, despite the fact remediation work had been carried out by Shell.
“Six years after the UNEP report the communities of Ogoniland are still unacceptably waiting for action to clean up their land and water. Justice cannot be endlessly delayed, the Nigerian government needs to urgently ensure the plan is implemented immediately,” said Godwin Ojo, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria.
Meanwhile the oil industry continues discredited practices and fails to ensure Ogoniland is free of pollution. “It’s clear that Shell is using the Government clean-up process as an excuse for not properly cleaning-up past pollution. It’s responsibility is clear – it stop and clean-up it’s pollution now,” said the Amnesty International
The UNEP report called for the implementation of emergency measures, the establishment of a $1 billion start up fund and extensive clean-up of Ogoniland.“It’s overdue that the start-up fund is immediately fully funded and the clean-up operation fully staffed. A clear priority should be the immediate delivery of all emergency and priority measures outlined in the UNEP report – no more delays, ’’ said Colin Roche, Friends of the Earth Europe.