By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€” MORE oil impacted sites have been discovered in Ogoni area by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, an international agency in the area to carry out remediation exercise on oil spill sites.
Making this known at the opening of the Sampling Training Workshop for UNEP Ogoni Land Project in Port Harcourt yesterday, the Project Coordinator, UNEP, Michael Cowing, said the project had suffered major set back in the area because of what he termed the uncooperative attitude of stakeholders in the area.
The Coordinator blamed the new spill sites discovered to the activities of oil bunkerers, adding that the new sites had increased their task in the area.
â€œWe could not go into Ogoniland because the stakeholders were averse to our team of expertsâ€™ entry into the area. Some of the people see us as part of Shell. So two years have been wasted already. It must be said that we have Presidential approval of the Nigeria government for this project,â€ Cowing said.
He added that his body had come with ten international experts in the field of science that would work with local professionals in the evaluation of the impacted sites. He assured that all findings would be deposited on the internet for public appraisal
On her part,Â the Rivers State Commissioner for Water Resources, Ms. Patricia Simon-Hart,Â urged the Federal Government to engage UNEP to do comprehensive clean up in the region because oil and gas activitiesÂ haveÂ impacted on the quality of potable water in the region
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Hon. Magnus Abe who is from Ogoni part of the state described the clean up project as very dear to the heart of the state government.