Elected Ogoni leaders ask for inclusion in oil spill committee

George Onah

21 August, 2011, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Elected representatives of Ogoni people of Rivers State at the National and State Assemblies as well as local governments and other opinion leaders have said they have not taken any position on the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, report over the oil spill in Ogoniland.

Spokesman of the group Senator Magnus Abe told the press in Port Harcourt, that the report, however, should not become another of those reports that would “gather dust” on the shelve of the Federal Government.

“Our people are concerned that there is no Ogoni representative in the committee that has just been set up, however, we acknowledge that this is because of the way the committee was composed, basically by function.

We are conscious of the fact that it would be good if one or two of our people as part of the committee so that our people would have confidence in the entire process. We are confident that Mr. President would make some accommodation in that respect, being the true Ogoni son that he is”.

While praising the government for the prompt step taken on the report, the group said it had “not taken a position on the report because we are conscious of the fact that we still have to make a wide consultation with our people. The Ogoni people will soon come out with a position on the report.

We are puzzled that while the investigation of UNEP was going on, Governor Chibuike Amaechi practically carried the problem on his shoulders. He bought vehicles for UNEP, he provided security and went to Ogoni several times to plead with all of us to give UNEP the chance to carry out the study.

But in all the things that have been said so far by many groups on the report, nobody has said thank you to the governor. But we want to place it on record that our people are grateful to Governor Amaechi over the efforts he personally put in to make the report a reality”.

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