President Jonathan sets up oil spill report team

18 August, 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a committee to review the report of the United Nations Environment Programme indicting the Shell Petroleum Development Company, a joint venture between the government owned NNPC and Royal Dutch Shell of massive oil spill in Ogoni land.

The committee is expected to undertake a holistic review of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on Oil Pollution in Ogoni land.

This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja and signed by Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

The statement said the committee was expected to make recommendations to the Federal Government on immediate and long term remedial actions to be taken on the report.

The committee, which will be chaired by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, would submit a report to the President within two weeks.

Other members of the Committee are the Ministers of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafiya, Vice-Chairman and Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Others are the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Chibuzo Ugwoha.

others listed include the Director-General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr Peter Idaboh; the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon and the Special Adviser to the President (Technical Matters), Mr Sullivan Akachukwu Nwakpo, as members.

After receiving the UNEP Report on Oil Pollution in Ogoni land on Aug. 4, the President directed the Ministers of Petroleum and Environment to undertake an immediate appraisal of the report.

The decision to constitute an expanded Special Review Committee followed the submission of the preliminary appraisal of the report by the two ministers.

It would be recalled that the UNEP report submitted to the President on May 4 stated that pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in Ogoni land had penetrated further and deeper than many might have thought.

The report said the environmental restoration of Ogoni land could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves were to be brought back to full, productive health.

UNEP report said that the clean-up, which might take as long as 30 years, would require about 1 billion dollars initial fund injection, and recommended the establishment of three new institutions to support a comprehensive environmental restoration.

They are the Ogoniland Environmental Restoration Authority, Environmental Restoration Fund for Ogoniland and Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre

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