Nigerian Minister Admit Ogoni Cleanup Failures, Blame Litigation
- As FG identifies additional 635 hectares of contaminated shoreline
The Nigerian government has finally admitted failures in the Ogoni cleanup blaming litigation. Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, opened up on why efforts to clean up oil spills in Ogoniland, Rivers State is being prolonged.
He said the litany of litigations from Ogoni indigenes were affecting the clean-up, just as he disclosed that government had identified additional 635 hectares of contaminated shoreline in the area.
The minister stated this at the eighth edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration scorecard series (2015-2023), in Abuja, yesterday.
“…It is because of devastation of the ecosystems and their land and the activities of oil firms, particularly Shell, which led to agitations and that led the Nigerian government to establish Hydro-carbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP)…On the part of government, we are focused on delivery and objectives of the Ogoni clean-up. We have a roadmap and a plan as spelt out by the water programme, which is also supported by the Federal Government.
“Part of what we are doing at the moment is survey of the sites and remediation. We are on course. Yes, it is normal for a group to be angry. My take is that most of the challenges we are facing are from there. People go to court to obtain orders, either ex parte or interlocutory orders to restrain us…Sometimes, the blame is not really from government. It is the people in one way or the other, doing all these, to slow down the clean-up. But, we’re doing everything to address the challenges.”
Abdullahi said in addition to Nigeria being committed to fully implementing the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland, the ministry had spent more than N3 billion to construct six water supply schemes with a capacity of supplying 2,400m3 of potable water per day to affected communities across the four local government areas of Ogoniland.
“The ministry, conscious of the need to ensure effective and timely implementation of the UNEP Report on the Ogoni clean-up, in line with Mr. President’s commitment, has achieved the following: remediation of 21 sites covering about 230 hectares out of the 65 sites reported in the UNEP report fact sheet. The ministry also assessed additional 213 grids consisting of 200x200m2 per grid of shorelines, which will pave way for the actual clean-up and remediation of 635 hectares of contaminated shorelines and planting of mangrove…”