UNEP Report: FG Unfolds Fresh Plans

  • Fri, 10 Aug 2012 00:22:43 -0600 - Nigerian Tide
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An official of the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), has welcomed the Fedral Government’s decision to proceed with a major
oil contamination clean up of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta.

In an exclusive interview with The Tide, UNEP’s
Communication Advisor, Julie Marks, said the government’s expressed commitment
signalled a new future for Ogoniland its environment and indeed the entire
Niger Delta communities.

She said 12 months ago, UNEP presented its scientific
assessment of oil pollution in Ogoniland to Nigerian government, underlining
serious public health and environment impacts.

The report, she emphasised called for swift action to
prevent the pollution footprints from spreading further and exacerbating the
already tragic legacy for the Ogoni people.

She explained that the UNEP environmental assessment of  Ogoniland had proposed the initial sum
of  $1billion to cover the first five
years of clean –up operations.

Marks stressed that “some of the ground results could be
immediate overall of the report, estimated
countering and cleaning up the pollution and catalysing a sustainable
recovery of Ogoinland could take 25-30 years which will require long term
financing.

She said , the UN under Secretary General and  UNEP Executive Director, Achim Stener had
stated that “ on the anniversary of the Ogoniland assessment, there are now
clear and encouraging signals that the government is keen to move on the
recommendations and this is a welcome development for the Ogoniland and its
people, who have suffered and  continued
to suffer, the legacy of some 50 years of unsustainable oil exploration and
production”.

However, Minister of Petroleum Resources,  Mrs Diezani Allison- Madueke,  announced last month that the Federal
Government has established the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project for
Ogoniland to fully implement the UNEP assessment report on the area.

The cleanup of Ogoniland environment will be conducted under
this new Nigerian government initiative, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration
Project (HYPREP)”, she said.

The UNEP Communications Advisor said “UNEP stands ready to
assist the government and its agencies with expertise for getting the HYPREP up
and running so as to improve the lives and livelihoods of the Ogoni people”.

She further said UNEP had held discussions with the Director
General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Sir
Peter Idabor, saying it had engaged with the government to chart transformative
pathways forward in order to realise the assessment’s recommendations.

The immediate need is for the necessary funds to be
mobilised and to be deployed to take the project forward at a scale and speed
commensurate with the challenge. Everyone has a part to play in realising
significant and positive results from the government of Nigeria, local authorities
and the oil industry to NGOs and local communities”, said UNEP Director of
Environmental Policy Implementation, Ibrahim Thiaw, who on August 4, 2011,
presented the UNEP’s environmental assessment report to President Goodluck
Jonathan at the state House, Abuja.

The Tide recalls that while receiving the report, Jonathan
had promised Federal Government’s commitment to implement the UNEP
recommendations on Ogoniland.

Philip Okparaji

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