12 February 2014, Port Harcourt – The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has faulted the federal government’s claim that it has started the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on the remediation of Ogoniland.
In a statement Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, condemned what he described as “the resurrection of the strategy of deceit by the Nigerian government to delude, confuse and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians and the international community that it has ‘begun implementing the UNEP report on Ogoniland.”
He said contrary to the claim by the Director General of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Peter Idabor, that government had started the implementation of the report, there was nothing of such.
“Many months ago, this same NOSDRA D-G also made similar assertions to journalists. We wonder if NOSDRA is now the mouth-piece of HYPREP.
“We would like to reaffirm for the umpteenth time that there is no evidence on ground supporting the claim. The approach is therefore most irresponsible and unfortunate. MOSOP has thus called on the general public and friends of the Ogoni people to disregard the concocted report aimed at deceiving and beguiling them into believing that remediation and restoration of the degraded Ogoni environment by government have started.
“Whilst we are not surprised at the effort to deceive, we are sure that the more government plays dirty politics with the resolution of the Ogoni environmental crisis, the more its credibility and support collapses not only in Ogoni but also worldwide. Coming at a time when global pressure for the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoni is intensifying, the tendency suggests attempts to play down this acknowledged mounting persuasion rather than transparently seeking to resolve the environmental question,” he added.
He restated that the people of Ogoni were committed to the clean-up of the environment and would not take anything short of that.
“We would remind government that a clean and safe environment is our inalienable right protected by both domestic and international instruments hence proper remediation and restoration of the Ogoni environment in line with UNEP recommendations are not negotiable, and the Ogoni people are resolute on this position. If the idea has been to test the waters once more, then it has suffered fatal failure. If it was to prepare our minds for the worst, we are ready. The unanimity of our people on this matter is overwhelming and no devious tactics can sway it otherwise,” he said.
“We wonder how such a major environmental intervention can begin without the free, prior informed consent or involvement of local communities and MOSOP. Not only that these communities and our apex umbrella body are unaware, there is no framework for the intervention. We are aware that UNEP recommended their adequate participation in recognition of their importance.
“Rather than resort to infantile sentiments, we would advise government to borrow a leaf from the popular and applauded approach of Washington with respect to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis. The Obama administration stood by the people and virtually relocated to the affected region. It insisted and ensured that justice was done in favour of the victims. Here, albeit regrettably, the Nigerian government takes side with trans-national oil corporations against communities, which suffers 100 per cent hazards of oil extraction,” Pyagbara also said.
He accused the federal government of discrimination against Ogoni people by applying different standards to people in other areas of disaster.
– This Day