04 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Amnesty International, an international non-governmental organisation has called on the Federal Government to fast track the implementation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Ogoniland.
Mr Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher, Amnesty International made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Dummett said that the report was mainly on how to clean up oil spills in the land caused by the activities of the Shell Petroleum Development Company.
NAN recalled that the UNEP report, released on Aug. 4, 2011, showed hydrocarbon pollution in surface water throughout the creeks of Ogoniland and up to eight centimetres in groundwater that fed drinking wells.
UNEP said that the environmental restoration of Ogoniland was possible but could take 25 to 30 years because of the wide extent of contamination.
One of the main contents of the report was the establishment of a Restoration Fund for Ogoni with an initial one billion dollars by Shell and the Federal Government
Dummett said President Muhammadu Buhari should keep to his campaign promise of implementing the report.
“This should be a model for the whole of oil producing states of Niger-Delta, we should not be talking about Ogoniland alone but all of them.
“I can understand with the government that the cleaning up of Ogoniland is a complicated issue which will take time to implement.
“But the government is going ahead to see how it will do the clean up,” he said.
The official said that government’s effort should not serve as an excuse for Shell not to do its part by cleaning up polluted sites.
He said that Shell, one of the world richest and powerful companies, should be faster on the remediation operations at the oil spill sites, especially the most affected communities.
The oil spill sites, according to him, are at the Bomu Manifold, Barabeedom Swamp, Okuluebu and Boobanabe.
“Shell should not ignore the pollution in those areas, whatever the government is doing in term of implementation of the UNEP report is part of the government responsibility.
“Shell and Federal Government have a clear responsible to clean up oil spills from its pipelines,” he said.
NAN, however, recalled that President Buhari had on August 5 approved several actions to fast-track the report on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland.,
Some of actions approved by Buhari included the amendment of the official gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to reflect a new governance framework.
The new governance framework now comprises a Governing Council, a Board of Trustees and Project Management.
Buhari also approved that the HYPREP Governing Council should be made up of representatives of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and impacted states
Other members of the council are oil companies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), representatives from Ogoniland and representatives from the United Nations System.