BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT – OGONI have decried Federal Government’s delay in implementing the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report on pollution traced to oil exploration in their area.
In speeches, yesterday, at a special prayer session at All Saint’s Cathedral Church of Anglican Communion, Bori, the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abey and Chairman, Provisional Ruling Council of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Professor Ben Naanen, said they were disappointed that almost a year after UNEP released its report on Ogoni, which called for long and short term remediation in the area, the government was yet to act on it. They said the prayer session was held to call on God to intervene on the issue.
Calls on Jonathan
Magnus said: “It is because of our disappointment that we stand here today, after a series of efforts to prevail on our son, President Goodluck Jonathan. We call on him to keep his word and keep the commitment of the Federal Government that the report will be implemented. The state House of Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives had passed a resolution for the implementation of the report. The person that now has the power to implement the report is the President.”
He expressed worries, that as a Senator, he could not speak authoritatively on when the Federal Government was going to implement the report. While urging the government to act to save the people of the area from pollution brought about by oil exploration, Magnus recalled that the report stressed on the presence ”of benzene in water underneath the ground in Ogali parts of Ogoni.”
“Apart from the state government, that has been trucking water to the community, the Federal Government had not responded to the plight of the people of the area. We are in a democracy and I expected that the Federal Government would be running around to address the issue. If they had done that, we would not have any reason to speak. The Federal Government set up a committee headed by the Minister of Petroleum that said the report had been submitted to the President. But nothing had been done.”