By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN has, insisted that the Federal Government should establish $100 billion Rehabilitation Fund for Niger Delta because of the environmental pollution in the area.
The group also decried that eight years after the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, submitted its report on Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland to the Federal Government for the clean-up of Ogoniland, government had allegedly engaged inexperienced contractors who lack the expertise to carry out the exercise.
Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Ojo, at an interaction with Vanguard in Abuja, said Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project, HYPREP, had deviated from the UNEP recommendations, adding that HPPREP lacked the capacity to undertake the clean-up and remediation.
Calling on the Federal Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company to ensure speedy recovery of the environment and sources of livelihood of the Ogoni people, Ojo said there was fundamental deviation by HYPREP from UNEP clean-up recommendations in terms of process and content, which had made the process unsure, tentative and suspect despite the fact that some clean-up had started.
He said: “Eight years after the release of the UNEP Assessment on Ogoniland, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth has decried the Nigerian government lip-service to the clean-up and lack of clarity in the process after four years of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“At the inception of this administration in 2015, President Buhari also promised to implement the report to the letter and went forward to even pledge $10 million as take off grant. Although $177 million had been released for the cleanup since 2018, HYPREP lacks the capacity to spend as has no feasible workplan for the funds received.”