Friday, August 5, 2011

Clean-up of Ogoni land to take 30 years, UN report says

5 August 2011

The restoration of Ogoniland may end up being the world’s largest and longest clean up exercise, as it may take as long as 30 years, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the level of despoliation in the area, Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland, has stated


Mr Jonathan thanked the Ogoni people for cooperating with the team to allow them complete their assessment, adding that he was happy at the comprehensive nature of the work done. He said the report would not only help to solve the problems of Ogoniland, but that of any other part of the country where oil spillage has occurred.

“The studies, from the presentation, is quite comprehensive. The time used and the results mentioned state clearly that a lot of work has been done and we are happy because a case study will help us to solve not only the Ogoni problems but also to look into some other parts of this country that oil exploration exploitation and production have been going on over the period,” he said.

He used the opportunity not just to thank the UN, but also to remind it of Nigeria’s commitment to the UN.

“We have paid our dues in terms of solving world and regional problems, we have participated in peacekeeping, invested both financial resources and even lives of our citizens to bring peace to the world,” he said.

He also said he believed that in this day of ‘environmental war’, the UN should still come to the country’s aid.

“The UN has been in places where we have civil war, and I think the environmental challenges we have are as severe as civil wars are,” Mr Jonathan said. “Environmental challenges and environmental pollution are probably even more critical because pollutants can migrate to any direction that you don’t even expect. So I believe that UNEP, in addition to helping us to conduct this studies, should also see how they can assist us to solve this major problem that we have.”

He noted that it would not be easy to set up the recommended organisations and run them without the assistance of the UN and UNEP.

He, however, said the Nigerian Government would discuss with Shell and other oil companies operating in the area to see how the report is to be handled.

“Let me assure you that we are not just going to put this report in our drawer and lock it up,” Mr Jonathan said. “We are going to act on it.”

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