LAGOS: THE United Nations Environmental Programme welcomed moves by the Federal Government to set in motion new efforts to address long-term oil pollution in Ogoniland.
According to the agency, the move by Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to convene a multi-stakeholder workshop on the implementation of the UNEP’s 2011 assessment of Ogoniland marked an important step towards the large-scale clean-up of the region.
The workshop held in Abuja on Tuesday was expected to discuss the measures needed to implement the recommendations outlined in the 2011 UNEP report entitled, “Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland.”
Participants from civil society, Ogoni communities, government, academia and the oil industry were expected to attend the workshop.
The day-long meeting was to be be held under the leadership of the Federal Government of Nigeria, with Erik Solheim, chairman of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, chairing the sessions.
Solheim has, since early 2013, served as a UNEP Special Envoy for Ogoniland, conducting and coordinating high-level political talks related to the planned environmental clean-up in Ogoniland.
Since the release of the Assessment in 2011, UNEP has expressed its readiness to support restoration efforts and commends the latest efforts by the Federal Government to put the necessary procedures in place for a large-scale clean-up and restoration of the region.
The UNEP report, conducted at the request of the Federal Government of Nigeria, was a detailed scientific assessment of environmental contamination in Ogoniland from over 50 years of oil operations in the region. The results from soil, ground water, remote sensing and public health studies showed that pollution was extensive, with widespread contamination of drinking water, land, creeks and vital ecosystems.
“UNEP welcomes this positive development in Ogoniland after years of pollution. Environmental restoration will require coordinated action from oil companies, community and the government. UNEP remains ready and available to support stakeholders in making Ogoniland a cleaner and safer place for all,” the UN agency stated on Tuesday.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY