The clean-up of Ogoniland in River State will take close to three decades to be fully accomplished because of the severity of the environmental pollution, which entails remediation, and restoration, the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, has said.
He said though steps were being taken, including plans for emergency actions and demonstration of the actual clean-up processes, “the delay in the take-off of the clean-up is the behind the scene preparatory stage, which is an essential process to ensure that when the tyre meets the tarmac the drive truly begins”.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on August 4, 2011, submitted an extensive report on its environmental assessment of Ogoniland. The report not only documented the problems that existed, but also contained recommendations on how they can be addressed, both in the short-term and in the long-term.
To underscore the Federal Government’s commitment to the clean-up, President Muhammadu Buhari recently inaugurated the 13-member Governing Council and 10-member Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for Ogoniland. Both bodies were for the implantation of the UNEP Report on Ogoniland.
However, five years down the line, the project is yet to properly take-off, leaving the local communities to continue to suffer from the problem, which existed long before the UNEP report. But, according to Nnimmo, a renowned environmentalist, it would take close to three decades to accomplish the project, as the sheer magnitude of the pollution required extensive remediation and restoration.
Apart from the need for extensive remediation and restoration planning, scientific analysis, community involvement, and genuine partnerships, it was also learnt that there has been some kind of squabble, wrangling and politicking within the committee constituted by the government to handle the exercise. The Nation