Ogo­ni­land clean-up a grand fraud, says Rivers gov, Wike

CISLAC seeks leg­is­la­tion to back HYPREP in clean­ing

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Kelvin Ebiri (Port Har­court) and Se­gun Olaniyi (Abuja)

RIVERS State Gov­er­nor Nye­som Wike has said that the pro­tracted im­ple­men­ta­tion of the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) re­port on Ogoni is a grand fraud and de­cep­tion.

Wike, who made this as­ser­tion yes­ter­day while ad­dress­ing the 108 and 109 gen­eral ses­sion of Rivers State Coun­cil of Tra­di­tional Rulers in Port Har­court, urged mon­archs in the state to lend their voices in con­demn­ing the ne­glect of Rivers State by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

He said it was dis­heart­en­ing that 28 months af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment launched the Ogo­ni­land clean-up, they were yet to com­mence the ex­er­cise as rec­om­mended by UNEP. “It is time you lend your voices more force­fully to the ne­glect of the state by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, the dev­as­ta­tion of our en­vi­ron­ment by the oil com­pa­nies, the grand fraud and de­cep­tion in the Ogoni clean-up ex­er­cise and the call for eco­nomic jus­tice and fis­cal fed­er­a­tion,” he said.

The gov­er­nor said the sta­te­owned se­cu­rity out­fit, Rivers State Neigh­bour­hood Safety Agency, would soon com­mence op­er­a­tion for the pri­mary pur­pose of de­tec­tion and pre­ven­tion of crimes across the state.

He, there­fore, so­licited the sup­port of the mon­archs to col­lab­o­rate with op­er­a­tives of the agency to en­sure that they suc­ceed, par­tic­u­larly as the op­er­a­tives are largely their own nom­i­nees.

Be­sides, Wike cau­tioned the mon­archs to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of en­gag­ing in par­ti­san pol­i­tics, which could cor­rode their so­cial rel­e­vance.

He ad­vised the mon­archs never to al­low any politi­cian to breach the peace in their com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the forth­com­ing cam­paigns and also urged them to mo­bilise their peo­ple to col­lect their per­ma­nent voter cards and vote for the can­di­dates of their choice.

Chair­man of the Rivers State Coun­cil of Tra­di­tional Rulers, King Dan­deson Dou­glas Jaja, im­plored the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to re­vive the ports in Rivers State to cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the youths.

Mean­while, the Civil So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre (CISLAC) has sought for an Act to back up the ac­tiv­i­ties of Hy­dro­car­bon Pol­lu­tion Re­me­di­a­tion Project (HYPREP) through in­de­pen­dence leg­is­la­tion that would al­low for more ro­bust and com­pre­hen­sive en­gage­ment in the clean­ing of Ogo­ni­land.

It said gov­ern­ment and oil firms should, as a mat­ter of ur­gency, start the de­com­mis­sion­ing of oil fa­cil­i­ties in Ogoni ahead of the clean-up to pre­vent re-pol­lu­tion that might cause a set­back to the en­tire cam­paign, adding that a ded­i­cated CSO desk should be es­tab­lished to in­ter­face with the larger pub­lic and pro­file feed­backs as a panacea for a sus­tain­able re­me­di­a­tion process.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, stated this yes­ter­day while on an ad­vo­cacy visit to the Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment, Ibrahim Us­man Jib­ril, in Abuja.

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