Implementation of UNEP Report on Ogoni pollution on course – Minister

07 August 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – THE Nigerian government says it is implementing the report of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, on the clean up of the oil pollution in Ogoni, Rivers State.

Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia, stated this on Monday in Abuja after the presentation of the 2012 budget performance report by the ministry to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Addressing State House correspondents after the closed door presentation, Mailafia refuted claims that government had swept the report under the carpet after its submission last August. She said: “It is not true that government is not doing anything.

The UNEP report, if you Google it, and if you have the copy of the summary, it had highlighted some immediate issues that needed to be addressed such as finding potable or alternative supplies of drinking water; such as marking out the wells that were too polluted and doing other strategic framework activities that needed to be put in place before the implementation.

“With the support of Gov. Amaechi of Rivers state and through our agency, the National Oil Spill Remediation Agency, we have carried out all those tasks.

“A place where pollution has taken place for a very long time requires a very formidable approach and we’ve been working on it with the petroleum ministry.

“I am glad to inform you that everything is put in place and that we are just waiting for the execution.
“So I want to debunk the statement that nothing has been done”.

Also, the minister assured that the problem of gas flaring would be addressed as soon as the Petroleum Industry Bill pending before the National Assembly was passed and implemented.

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  • Indeed nothing could be farther from the truth. If the government was doing anything about implementing the UNEP Report, the Ogonis would feel the impact and wouldn’t be threatening to occupy strategic facilities located within their domain. We advise the minister of environment to spare herself further embarrassment by opting to reserve her comments when confronted by reporters to comment on the incidence of oil spill and government response. It is our candid opinion that Nigeria lacks a coherent oil spill response management system and no government functionary can possibly make submissions on the subject without sounding glib or empty.