Paul Obiajunwo, PortHarcourt
A group, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the representatives of host communities in Ogoni yesterday said the issue of clean-up has been politicize and that nothing is happening in Ogoni regarding the clean-up.
They said the issue of emergency measure recommended by United Nation Environment Programme, UNEP report on Ogoni has not commenced, adding that the issue of quality and safe drinking water and health impart assessment are very important to the people.
Both the group and the representatives of the affected communities stated this yesterday in Port Harcourt during a Town Hall meeting to appraise the progress on the implementation of the emergency measures and cleanup in Ogoniland.
The President, Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Chief Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, some Ogoni Monarchs and Civil Society Groups were also in attendance.
Deliberating at the meeting, the leaders of the host communities said in terms of emergency measures as recommended by UNEP report nothing has been done to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
His Royal Highness, King Suanu Baridam, the Gbenemeni Bangha II said as a monarch he has followed the cleanup process from the inception and can clearly attest that there is nothing to show when it comes to emergency measures.
Baridam, who is also the chairman of Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers said residents of host communities affected by the oil spills are still consuming sea food and drinking contaminated water.
He said: Like the issue of health impart assessment of the community should be one of the major duties of the Government and the issue of water has to be taking seriously too but none of these issues has been taking care of. Yet we hear every day that the cleanup is going on whereas nothing is happening.
“The reason why this cleanup is delayed is that Government doesn’t have a clear political structure and the introduction of politics into the cleanup is also causing delay, poor funding, Shell on its part is making some statements that they have contributed some amounts towards the cleanup process.
“They are just polluting the site and pretend as if they are working but they are not doing anything what we see is that they go to the media and started saying they have been working. I want the world to know that there is nothing going on in Ogoni.”
Another community leader from Bodo Community in Ogoni, Chief Saint Emmah Pii said, “ As am speaking to you nothing is taking place in Ogoni land, apart from the flag-off they did. In Bodo community HYPREP Project Coordinator Dr Marvin Dekil visited by my council of chiefs, and told us what they intend to do.
“They told us they are coming to do soil test and work on our water facilities and the medical registry but two months has passed and we have not heard from them again. Nothing has really happened at Ogoni, they only came to inform us that they are coming.”
CISLAC and other civil society groups at the event also agreed that there is need to engage those responsible on the Ogoni cleanup, put pressure on them and also carry out protest against the delay in the emergency measures in Ogoni land.