Mkpoikana Udoma 23 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The slow pace of implementation of the cleanup of Ogoniland as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, one year after its flag-off by the Federal Government, is now generating controversy in the area.
A former leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Mr. Ledum Mitee, has criticised the cleanup process, saying nothing was being done about the cleanup.
Mitee, who described the cleanup as mere political hype, said there was a huge gap between what is reported in the media and what is on ground.
He said the ordinary people who are affected by the oil pollution in Ogoniland are not seeing of the cleanup.
“There is a lot of hype, especially political hype in this issue of Ogoni cleanup than meets reality and it therefore creates a gap between what is on the pages of newspapers and what is on ground.
“I challenge the media to get to the affected communities such as Bodo, K-Dere or any other afflicted communities in Ogoniland and ask the ordinary people what they know about the cleanup and their expectations, and I will amplify whatever they will say,” Mitee said.
He emphasise that the issue of insecurity in Ogoniland was not an excuse for the slow pace of the actual commencement of the cleanup process.
“I don’t think insecurity is an excuse, after all, it is the responsibility of those who are to implement the cleanup to maintain law and order and not the ordinary citizens. Section 14 of the Constitution says the primary purpose of government is the welfare and security of the people. So if they cannot guarantee welfare and security for the people, then there is no basis for them being a government,” Mitee said.
In a swift reaction, the Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Programme, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, contradicted the position of Mitee, saying work was on going in the cleanup of oil polluted sites in Ogoniland by the Federal Government.
Dekil said the setting up of the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees for the clean up process as well as his recent appointment by the government as HYPREP coordinator were not just proves that work was going on, on the implementation of the UNEP report, but also a guarantee that the cleanup project will be executed in Ogoniland.