An Environmental Group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FOEN, has given the Federal Government a knock over the recent flag-off the clean-up of Ogoni, Rivers State, saying that apart from the usual fan fair, there was no serious commitment by the government to the exercise. The Executive Director of ERA/FOEN, Dr.Godwin Ojo, expressed dismay over what he described as lack of commitment by the Federal Government to the clean-up of Ogoni during the World Environment Day in Abuja, he urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to come out and state in a clear and unambiguous terms the commitment of government and Shell Petroleum Development Company in the exercise.
According to vanguard: Mr Ojo also frowned at the non passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which his organisation has been at the fore front of the campaign for passage of the bill, noting that what was presently before the National Assembly as PIB was highly deceptive.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. General Paul Boroh (retd) has described the clean-up of Ogoni as both an environmental and economic lifeline for the Niger Delta. He said apart from restoring the environment, the clean- up will in the in short term lead to mass youth employment and revival of sustainable economic activities while on the long run, the people will return to their profession of farming and fishing. According to him, the clean-up was the best thing to happen to the region in many years, adding that long years of oil exploitation, spills and abandonment had made many parts of the Niger Delta unsafe for human habitation and economically, unviable. In a statement by Media and Communication Consultant to Presidential Amnesty Programme, Owei Lakemfa said that the clean-up will also greatly assist the Presidential Amnesty Programme engage ex-agitators in sustainable employment, adding that the exercise fits in perfectly with the programmes’s current phase of sustainably integrating all the 30,000 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme. Dr Ojo continuing, said “Environmental challenges have been politicised along ethnic lines.
The failure of natural resource management in Nigeria is the failure of governance in the lack of compliance and enforcement of the extant laws.” He said the country needed a new economic pathway that was not dependent on fossil fuels, stressing that the significant drop in oil pricing required an alternative economic blueprint that was envisaged within a post petroleum economy for Nigeria.
The reluctant attitude of the government has also been confirmed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) who has pulled out of the much publicized clean up of Ogoni Land, citing insincerity and lack of commitment on the side of the federal government. Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, the spokesman of SPDC in Lagos Wednesday, June 8, 2016 revealed this in a statement. The oil giant stated that they noticed the government does not have a blue print yet for the exercise, also no fund has been approved by the government for clean-up.
Odugbesan stated that attempt to reach the federal government to show commitment has be futile.
He further said their own part of the money is ever ready and they won’t hesitate to return to the table whenever the the federal government deem fit to fully kick start the clean up because right now there is nothing concrete on ground, to be frank.