Group opposes oil exploration resumption before environmental clean-up

The Center for Accountability, Transparency, and Human Development (CATHUD), a United States-based Justice, Human Rights and oil industry watch group has kicked against any oil resumption scheme until the commencement of the environmental clean-up exercise promised by the Federal Government.

Indeed, the group alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration have turned blind eyes to the death toll in Ogoni and the rest of the Niger Delta in preference to oil extraction by treating the environmental clean-up of Ogoni with levity.

“We demand answers to why Nigeria and Shell Oil split a 2,800 sq. Km Ogoni Oil Block (Ogoni Oil Mining License (OML 11) into three using quasi excuses; and why the cleanup of the Ogoni environment would be tied to a “concurrent” resumption of Oil activities per the Ministry of the Environment”, the group said.

On the cleanup, the group noted that Ogoni people want the cleaning of their environment and ecosystems to the headed by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) in partnership with the U.S Department of Energy (Office of Environmental Management), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the Harvard University, and a consortium of licensed internationally recognized expatriate firms like Ardaman and Associates, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.

“Going forward, the Ogoni people want a designed plan for each cleaning site, site characterization, remedial cost estimates, and soil and groundwater remediation techniques, amongst others. The Ogoni people want the involvement of; a U.S based organization that would undertake a bio-metric assessment of the Ogoni people (Social Assessment Impact Studies). No study has been on the impact of oil extraction on humans and animals. This is undertaken and accounted for in the civilized world.

“The Ogoni people no longer want to be treated like a menu, they are the goose that lays the golden egg and demands seats at the table in deciding the faith of Ogoni and its people. Henceforth, as part of the planning pertaining to Ogoni, the Ogoni people want their representatives drawn from the diaspora and among Ogonis in Nigeria. The UNEP is as a result of the commitment of concerned Ogonis and their NGO network around the world”, the group added.

Towards the UNEP Report-guided Ogoni Clean Up, the General Manager, External Relations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Igo Weli had said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette and the agreed governance framework.”

“The SPDC JV has completed its first-year contribution of $180 million (N54.54 billion). Early 2017, the SPDC JV made available $10 million to help set up HYPREP office and in July 2018, joint venture deposited additional $170 million (N51.52 billion) into an escrow account to fund HYPREP’s activities.”

The company said it was also collaborating with communities to effectively patrol pipelines’ rights-of-way through direct surveillance and GMoU surveillance, proactively engaging government security agencies to prevent crude theft and vandalism and carrying out awareness campaigns to educate community members, surveillance contractors and general public of the requirements of the 1990 Pipeline Act which prohibits any third-party activities 100ft from existing oil and gas right-of-way.

Source: TheGuardian

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