Renowned environmentalist, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, has described the Federal Government’s delay in implementing recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, in Ogoni, Rivers State, as an open sore on the conscience of the government.
Speaking, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, on the sidelines of a roundtable on the report, Bassey said that inaction of the government two years after the report was released, was lamentable.
He therefore urged government at all levels to make the environment a major concern, while calling on the people of Niger Delta to engage in what he termed direct peaceful actions to put pressure on the government to be alive to its responsibilities.
Going round some spill sites in Ogoni with the Co-Chair, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, Dr. Monika Griefahn, Bassey said he was shocked to discover that residents had fled Goin community in Ogoni because of pollution.
“All you see are signposts by HYPREP (Hydro-Carbon Pollution and Restoration Project), saying this is a polluted area. Where do the people go to when all their communities are polluted? Both surface and ground water is polluted. The land itself is polluted. The situation calls for emergency on environment to be declared,” he said, calling on government to take practical steps to implement the report.
He also called for community participation to end oil theft, adding that government should stop opening new oil fields to save the region from recurring oil spills.
The House of Representatives had on November 6 mandated its committees on Environment and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to carry out an investigation on the non-implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
A member of the House, Kingsley Chinda, had called for the investigation, emphasising that the Federal Government had not acted on the report two years after it was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The joint committee had since summoned the managers of the HYREP, set up by the Federal Government in the wake of the UNEP report and is expected to report back to the house in four weeks (next week).