Six years after of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland, the United Nations has appealed to the people of Ogoni to exercise patience with the Federal Government of Nigeria over the delay in the commencement of the implementation process.
The team of UN made the plea Thursday at a contaminated site in Kwawa community, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, during a familiarization visit to ascertain the level of work on the cleanup of Ogoniland.
It will be recalled that the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had last year inaugurated committees that would facilitate the implementation, but till date the people of Ogoni are worried over the continuous delay in the implementation.
The Resident Coordinator United Nations in Nigeria, Edward Kallou, who led the team to Ogoni land stated that the remediation process involved technical approaches that needed a lot of time to be achieved appropriately.
Kallou, who disclosed that it was his first visit to Niger Delta region, noted that he was in the area to have firsthand information on the devastation and the level of work done.
He noted that work was on going in the implementation process and urged the people of the area to the give the Federal Government a chance to be able to deliver a better result.
Kallou said, “I am here today on a familiarization visit on Ogoniland. I am here to have a better understanding on the impact of the oil spill and the progress that has been made in the implementation of the UNEP assessment of the devastation in the area.”
“There are two conclusions I want to draw in my visit. This is a very technical investment; it is not a rural type of investment where you are going to see houses built within a short period of time. My appeal is patience, to ensure that the required technical needs are met and to ensure that at the end of the cleanup it is properly done.”
“The beneficiary communities or the affected areas are looking up to what are the critical outputs of this investment, but the project is on. It needs to be given time to ensure that the technical aspect of the work is done properly.
“We need time to allow the experts on the ground to do the critical analysis that are required before an investment is done. My advice to the project coordinator to look at a diversified approach with a rural development focus within the project itself that can be delivered in a short term.”
Meanwhile, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, the body in charge of the remediation process has said it had commenced fully the training of graduates who would work to achieve the project.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Malvin Dekil, said that over 12 people from different environmental related courses were been trained in different skills of remediation.
He noted that there would be reassessment of impacted sites during the implementation proper as to capture the level of impact on the ground before a remediation plan is sketch for the area.
He said, “We will take every site and capture the current contamination profile before we design a remediation plan for that area. We a will address that technically.”