*Says Bonny-Bodo road construction has exposed new level of pollution in Ogoni
19 February 2019, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — An environmentalist and environmental justice campaigner, says a new level of hydrocarbon pollution of Ogoni environment has been exposed by the ongoing construction of the N120.6 billion Bodo-Bonny road in Rivers State.
The Bodo-Bonny road is being constructed by Julius Berger through the swampy creeks of Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area to the Bonny Kingdom in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The environmentalist and Niger Delta Activist, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said a visit to the Bodo community axis of the project site by a team comprising of environmental justice campaigners, environment monitors and volunteers exposed a vast expanse of massively hydrocarbon polluted areas covering miles.
Fyneface said base on the development, there was an urgent need to re-assess the new level of hydrocarbon pollution being revealed by the ongoing construction of Bodo-Bonny road while the cleanup of other impacted sites commences.
He called on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to commence the actual cleanup of Ogoni environment without further delay, while the Federal Government and the oil multinationals should ensure the availability of funds for the project.
“As we drove 7km from Patrick Waterfront where Ogoni cleanup was flagged-off on June 2, 2016, towards Bonny Island where the Bodo-Bonny road is being constructed to, we were greeted by a new sight of pollution and devastated environment that I never knew existed in Ogoniland.
“I was shocked to see this extent of pollution in that part of Ogoni alone. I do not think that this level of pollution, stretching over 8kilometres from the flag-off point and continuing as far as eyes can see towards Bonny Island was captured in the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
“There is a need to re-assess these new level of hydrocarbon pollution being revealed by the ongoing construction of Bodo-Bonny road while the cleanup of other impacted sites commences.”
Fyneface explained that the main purpose of the trip was to ascertain whether work was actually ongoing on the Bodo-Bonny road as stated by President Muhammadu Buhari during his presentation of the 2019 budget at the National Assembly as well as at his campaign in Rivers State last week.
He said the visit did not only reveal that work is actually ongoing on the project as the President said, but that the ongoing construction exposes a new level of pollution that may not have been captured in the report by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, on Ogoniland, released on August 4, 2011.
“With what I saw today, Ogoniland cannot be cleaned up without simultaneously cleaning the environment in neighbouring communities like Ogu/Bolo, Andoni, Opobo, Okrika, Bonny, etc. that share common water boundaries.
“I use this opportunity to invite environmental justice activists, campaigners, environmental organizations, institutions, and media organizations locally and globally to take advantage of the road being constructed to Bonny through Bodo creeks to visit the area and experience the new level of pollution I saw today.
“Such visits will enhance our collaboration for a strong campaign to stop re-pollution in Ogoniland and the Niger Delta region as cleanup gets on the way,” Fyneface said.
It would be recalled that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, accepted responsibility for multiple oil spills in the area up to 2009 and paid £55million to Bodo community in 2015 in an out of court settlement following a case instituted by the community against the Dutch firm in a London court.