National News

Amnesty Int’l, others raise alarm over delayed Ogoni clean up

Worried by the continued delay in the Ogoni clean-up exercise, right groups, Amnesty International Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), and Friends of the Earth Europe said there will be no justice from Shell’s pollution in the Niger Delta unless clean-up is carried out.

The groups raised the alarm that so far, nothing much has been done in the Ogoni clean-up exercise 10 years after the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report documenting the devastating impact of the oil industry in Ogoniland, and made urgent recommendations for clean-up which the government agreed to follow.

In a statement by the group signed by Phillip Jakpor, it stated that “Key findings of the report included that: Work has begun on only 11 percent of polluted sites identified by UNEP, with only a further 5 percent included in current clean-up efforts, and no site has been entirely cleaned up.

“Actions classified by UNEP as “emergency measures” – immediate action on drinking water and health protection – have not been implemented properly; there are still communities without access to clean water supplies;

“Health and environmental monitoring have not been carried out”.

It noted further that “There has not been any public accounting for how the 31 million USD funding provided since 2018 has been spent, stressing that “11 of 16 companies contracted for the clean-up are reported to have no registered expertise in oil pollution remediation or related areas.

“Also HYPREP has numerous conflicts of interest as Shell continues to be involved in the governing boards for the clean-up and even places its staff in HYPREP”.

The organisations demand a rapid clean-up and in particular that the Nigerian government makes sure that Ogoni people can access their basic rights including the right to safe drinking water

“There is an urgent need to develop and implement a strategy to address the root causes of oil pollution, while fully involving local communities.

“Strengthens HYPREP and ensures it is an independent, transparent agency without the involvement of Shell in oversight and management structures

“There is a need to publish all information on the clean-up project and its progress” the statement noted.

According to the release “Shell must provide proper compensation to all communities affected by failed or delayed clean-ups of oil spills ….decommissions all aging and damaged pipelines

“Commits to funding the clean-up of Ogoniland and the rest of the Niger Delta until completed and that European governments home to oil companies operating in the Niger Delta make a fundamental shift to prioritize the clean-up of Ogoniland and the rest of the Niger Delta over the interests of companies.

“Increase engagement with and support for the Nigerian government to ensure effective implementation of UNEP’s recommendations, independent oversight of the oil industry, and effective remedy for affected communities.

“Establish strong international regulations for corporate liability abroad – such as an EU law for mandatory Human Rights due diligence and a binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights”.

Activists: Godwin Ojo,( Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria), Colin Roche, Friends of the Earth Europe), Osai Ojigho, (Amnesty International Nigeria), all agreed in the statement that there was an urgent need to give the Niger Delta region a priority attention given the danger that looms due to continued neglect of the region.

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