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The civil society and the community stakeholders in the Niger-Delta have urged the Federal Government under the leadership of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to implement the UNEP report on Ogoni land immediately without delay.
The group gave the charge after a stakeholder’s meeting organized by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA) to review the UNEP report. The event which took place on 27th in September 2011 was held at Algate Hotel, Sani Abacha Road, G.RA, Port Harcourt.
Addressing the gathering, the spokesperson for ERA, Barr. Michael Karikpo said the meeting became imperative because after the UNEP report the Federal Government is yet to say or take any action as the hazards are far too dangerous. Barr. Karikpo said the Federal Government should be held responsible for the damage of the environment of the Ogoni people while charging the civil society and community representatives at the meeting to bring better ideas as to how to advise government on the issues affecting Ogoni people especially on the way forward.
Participants at the event thanked UNEP for the indebt report which vindicated the Ogoni people when they complained against their environment. The Ogonis have through their slain leader Ken Saro Wiwa informed Federal government and Shell Development Company on the dangers the oil exploitation and exploration was posing on the Ogoni environment. Others blamed both Shell and the federal government for not providing relief materials for those fishermen and farmers whose livelihood have been destroyed totally by the oil spillages since oil was found over 50 years, especially Bodo City and other coastal communities in Ogoni land.
Earlier, the UNEP representative program person in Port Harcourt, Mr. Ferdinand Giadom, at the event, said the report released by UNEP is by all standards an international one using all best practices in the world, in the Ogoni case. He said the report covers Desk research, sampling fieldwork, laboratory analysis, report preparation, independent scientific instrument and external review. The UNEP representative said Ogoni is contaminated with hydrocarbon as discovered and presented to the Federal government in their 14 months period research. Speaking on legal dimensions to solving the conflict on the UNEP Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland, Bar. Nurudeen Ogbara proffered solutions to the Ogoni report. He said although the report is in-adequate, it gives an authoritative validation of the Ogoni struggle.
He suggested ways the Ogonis and Niger Delta people should follow up the matter which include Constitutional Reform, improving on the Evidence Law, Democratization of the report, public interest, sanction and remediation among others. The civil society called on federal government to adhere strictly to the recommendation by UNEP. Those in attendance were professional bodies, the Academic, Representative of UNEP, Representative of OXFAM, MOSOP, Ministry of Environment Rivers State.
A communiqué was issued at the end of the one day stake holder’s meeting. ####