10 October 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Stakeholders in Ogoni have said that the announcement by Federal Government that the sum of $177million has been raised for the clean up of Ogoni, is a political gimmick and part of elections campaign strategy of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Recall that the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, had on Monday disclosed that the Federal Government has so far raised the sum of $177million for implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
Jibril at a meeting with the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ms. Laure Beaufils, explained that while $177million has been raised for the cleanup, the sum of $23million is expected from refineries before the end of October.
This money, according to industry watchers and stakeholders which would sum up to $200 million to be released consecutively for five years to sum up to the $1billion, which UNEP recommended should be set aside in a trust fund for the report implementation.
But a former President of the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Mr. Ledum Mitee, said what the people of Ogoni need now is the commitment of the Federal Government to implement the UNEP report and not political gimmicks.
Mitee, called for the immediate provision of potable water for impacted communities in Ogoniland as recommended by UNEP.
“Over two years and after several activities have been projected to happen but nothing happened. Now that we are very close to the election it is very convenient for people to say we have raised money. When will that money begin to do things that will change the lives of people?
“There are certain emergency activities that need to be done, including another study that should determine what sort of cleanup should be done and where we have not seen that happening. UNEP said Ogoni People are drinking water that is about 1000 times contaminated more than anywhere in the world and water should be provided for this people, but that has not happened.
“Those we thought would stand to protect the interest of the people have found themselves to even be the ones projecting the federal government and the oil companies view and that is unfortunate for our people.”
On his part, the National Coordinator of the Ken Saro Wiwa Associates, Mr. Gani Topba, called on president Buhari to prevail on the Minister of State for Environment, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril, to give an account of the initial $10million released for the cleanup.
Topba also raised the alarm that companies applying for the cleanup exercise in Ogoniland are not qualified.
“What president Muhammadu Buhari is supposed to do in order to give confidence to the people of Ogoni is to ask the Minister of Environment to give an account of the previous money before releasing another money.
“For us, this new money will also pass the same route as the previous ones. We are already in the hit of politics, how many Ogoni sons have been given the opportunity to participate in what is going on?
“Some of the companies that have been shortlisted for the Ogoni clean-up, if you go to the Corporate Affairs Commission, these companies I have their records, these companies have never been registered as environment-related companies, many of them are traders and they want to use that to collect Ogoni money.”