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UNEP Report: Ogonis To Smile Soon

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it had established multi- stakeholders committee to commence the implementation of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the restoration of Ogoniland.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, MrsDiezani Alison-Madueke, stated this in Abuja at a Stakeholders Forum on Environmental Restoration of Ogoniland, saying that it was time to take decisive actions to restore Ogoniland.

The Newswriter recalled that the Federal Government had in 2005, commissioned UNEP to conduct an independent assessment of the environment and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta.

But since the report was submitted in September, 2011, no concrete step was taken by government to implement its recommendation.

Alison-Madueke, however, said that the Federal Government had taken steps to revisit the Ogoni land pollution issue with the aim of seeking permanent solution to it.

“Upon consultations with the people of Ogoni land, it has become clear that stakeholders have not been properly consulted or incorporated into the implementation processes of the UNEP report.

“Accordingly, government has been deliberately cautious by carefully reviewing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPRP) structure to determine the best way to rejuvenate the programme to really restore Ogoni land as envisioned in the report,” she said.

According to her, despite the setbacks we have encountered with HYPRP over the last one and a half year, we have focused on this mission with every ounce of decisive determination.

The minister assured that she would not rest until the report was decisively delineated and implemented to the benefit of Ogoni people.

“I do believe that the time for decisive action is now hence we have asked all of you, multi-lateral stakeholders across the board, to join us today to have a very open and inclusive discourse,” she said.

She said it was time to construct a viable road map and a sustainable agenda for the report.

She said the forum would come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation, remediation and restoration plan that could be effectively implemented to reinstitute Ogoni land for its people.

The President of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, recalled that the people had suffered for a very long time from the impact of environmental degradation due to oil exploration.

Pyagbara expressed delight that the struggle for the restoration of Ogoni land which commenced over 25 years ago had started receiving the government’s attention.

He said the inhabitants of the area were ready to cooperate with the government to achieve its plan for them.

Pyagbara, however, demanded that the UNEP report should be fully implemented.

“We are ready to collaborate and partner any genuine mechanism that will see to the attainment of the goal of the people of Ogoni land,” he said.

On his part, the paramount ruler of Ogoniland, Gbenemen Giniwa Baigha 11, urged the people of Ogoni to appreciate government’s efforts in ensuring that the UNEP report was implemented.

He called on the people to cooperate with the government as it had hearkened to their cry.

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