By Jimitota Onoyume, Michael Eboh, Jonah Nwokpoku & Ediri Ejoh
PORT HARCOURT— MOVEMENT for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, yesterday, condemned delay on the part of the Federal Government to implement recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, on Ogoni areas three years after its release.
Spokesman of the body, Mr. Legborsi Esaen, told newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that it was regrettable that several years after the UNEP report, Federal Government had not considered it necessary to give it the desired attention.
He said: “MOSOP is shocked that today (yesterday), which marks exactly three years after the UNEP report on Ogoni land was presented to the Presidency, no arrangement had been made to save what is left of the Ogoni environment.
“We are concerned that our community members are still drinking water from wells contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, at levels over 900 times above World Health Organisation, WHO, safety limit.
“Presently, the death rate of our people from cancer-related sicknesses is extremely high, especially with very limited cancer screening centres in the country.”
Executive Director, Social Action, Dr. Isaac Osuoka, said it was shocking that no serious step had been taken to implement the report.
He said: “When the British Petroleum, BP, oil spill occurred at the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, there was an immediate response by the President Obama-led government and the oil company responsible .
“It was a professional clean-up exercise which involved thousands of people brought in by BP. High-tech machines such as remotely-operated underwater vehicles, ROVs, were deployed in the clean-up process.
“If after three years of waiting for the implementation of the UNEP report, the Nigerian government remains unwilling or unable to coordinate a thorough clean-up of Ogoniland, then the onus is on Shell, the polluter, to lead the clean-up process and bring in experts with the technical know-how to carry out a professional clean-up.”
Meanwhile, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, yesterday, has blamed the Federal Government for the delay in the implementation of some of the recommendations of the UNEP report concerning oil spill incidents in Ogoniland.
“The majority of UNEP’s recommendations require multi-stakeholder efforts coordinated by the Federal Government,” Precious Okolobo, Corporate Media Relations Manager, Shell, said in a statement.