The Ogoni and Civil Society Organisations welcome comments by Director General of National Oil Spill Detection & Response Agency (NOSDRA), Dr. Peter Idabor in Abuja on Thursday, January 7, 2016 that the implementation of UNEP Report on Ogoni would commence in first quarter 2016. As such, the Ogoni would watch government actions in the coming days to be sure that it’s not one of many failed promises of the past and if convinced that it’s serious, the 30days ultimatum for street action issued by the Ogoni on January 4, 2016 would be suspended.
We however caution against statements on multiple implementing agencies as Dr. Idabor had said that Federal Ministry of Environment would handle the clean up when the New-HYPREP is set up to do same and should not be another grounds to delay the clean up processes.
It is regrettable to note that it was after series of protests and killings of Ogonis that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was commissioned to carry out scientific audit of Ogoniland and submitted its report on August 4, 2011. Again, it was after Ogoni threatened going to the streets in 2012 that Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Programme (HYPREP) was hurriedly set up; It was also after Ogoni issued Statements on August 4, 2015 that forced government to make pronouncements on the “Fast-Track” statement that has now become “Slow-Track’ and this first quarter implementation statement from Federal government is also coming after Ogoni issued 30-day ultimatum. Government must not always wait till Ogoni issue threats before taking action on UNEP Report to Clean Up polluted Ogoni environment because it is its statutory responsibility to protect the environment and safe lives in Ogoni and the Niger Delta region including Nigeria as a whole.
Those who are against the 30-DAY ultimatum issued by the Ogoni people through the leadership of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) under the able leadership of the newly re-elected President, Legborsi Pyagbara under any guise lack knowledge of the workings of civil society organisations and movements like MOSOP that uses such tools to influence government decisions and compel them to take action because the Nigerian Government does not act unless they are pushed as noted above.
Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface,
Project Officer, Ogoni Solidarity Forum-Nigeria/Social Action.