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Nigeria: President announces cleanup of oil pollution sites in Ogoniland

Pastor Christian Lekoya Kpandei showing the damage done to his fish farm in Bodo, Nigeria, May 2011. Credit: Amnesty International.

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Article
3 June 2016

Ogoniland Clean-up: Monarch, MOSOP, KAGOTE laud Buhari

Author: News Agency of Nigeria, in Daily Trust (Nigeria)

The people of Ogoni in Rivers on Friday thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the launch of the clean-up of their environment and other oil impacted communities in the Niger Delta. King Godwin Giniwa, Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, said his people were happy that President Buhari kept his promise of implementing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report... Legborsi Pyagbara, President, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) said the launching of the implementation of UNEP Report confirmed Buhari as a man of integrity... Pyagbara said environmental restoration of Ogoniland was a central plan of their struggle... "Our strategy of non-violence has been vindicated with the launching of the clean-up of our land initiated by the President," he said.

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Article
2 June 2016

Nigeria needs $520 billion over three decades to clean up Ogoniland and other sites polluted by crude oil, says academic and expert

Author: SAHARAREPORTERS, New York

"Ogoniland Is Not The Most Polluted Land In The Niger Delta Region-Prof. Hilary Inyang", 3 June 2013

Nigeria needs $520 billion dollars...over the next three decades to clean up areas of the country polluted by crude oil...Hilary Inyang, a professor of Environmental Engineering and Science estimated...[Prof] Inyang disclosed that Nigeria has three thousand, nine hundred and twenty contaminated sites, adding that it would cost the government “five hundred and twenty billion dollars over the next 30 to 35 years to clean up.” He said it would not be possible to clean up all the contaminated sites in the Niger Delta, adding that certain areas that require urgent attention must be selected. He stated, “the most contaminated sites are not in Ogoni. The most contaminated site is Kebidada in Bayelsa State. There are many in Ogoni, but there are some that are worse and not in Ogoni.”...

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Article
2 June 2016

Vice-President warns oil companies against continued pollution of the environment, urges them to abide by universal best practices

Author: Ernest Chinwo, This Day (Nigeria)

"Osinbajo Kicks off Clean-up of Ogoniland, Warns Against Oil Theft", 3 June 2016

Giving an insight into what gave rise to militancy in the [Ogoni] region, Osinbajo on behalf of Buhari said: “The various communities in the Niger Delta region, noting the negative impact of oil production and lack of consideration for best practices, quite rightly commenced the struggle for justice and fair play in the conduct of business by oil industry operators...This, unfortunately, led to the loss of lives and property". [He added]..."The [UNEP] report was submitted to my predecessor while still in office in 2011…[t]he people of Ogoniland continued to suffer from pollution of air, land and water,”. He warned: “Let me seize this opportunity to sound a note of warning that the current oil theft and illegal refining will not be tolerated. The regulators of the oil industry must live up to expectations. They must ensure that oil companies carry out their operations in line with universal best practices.”...

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Article
2 June 2016

Cleaning up oil-stained Ogoniland (aka Buhari’s chance to break the cycle of abuse in the Niger Delta)

Author: Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International, in African Arguments (UK)

Nigeria’s President Buhari is launching what would be the biggest oil clean-up exercise the world’s ever seen…if he’s really serious...

The president has already announced that the clean-up will follow a plan outlined by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which in 2011 published the most detailed study to date of the spread and the scale of oil pollution in Ogoniland... President Buhari’s commitment to this issue is welcome. However, in years of campaigning, we have seen similar promises in the past, with little actually changing on the ground... For instance, in 1995, the year that Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed, Shell launched, with much fanfare, its own version the UNEP report...20 years later, Shell has still not published it, despite promising to do so...

[Now, in addition to the government,] Shell also needs to act. The company claims to have improved its response to spills... But last year, Amnesty International and the Centre for the Environment, Human Rights and Development, which is based in Port Harcourt, discovered that the company had made false claims about its clean-up of spills in four locations in Ogoniland.

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Article
2 June 2016

Joint statement by Nigerian and International civil society on clean-up of Ogoniland

Author: Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria; Centre for Environment, Human Rights & Development (Nigeria); Friends of the Earth Europe; Milieudefensie; Amnesty Intl.; Platform (UK)

We the undersigned civil society organisations welcome today the commitment by the Nigerian Government to finally begin a clean-up of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, and urge the Government and the oil industry to ensure that this translates into meaningful action on the ground to tackle the impacts of decades of oil spills in the region... Shell must match the Government’s commitment to tackle pollution by properly cleaning up previous oil spills, and by overhauling its practices for remediating future spills in line with UNEP’s recommendations...

As a first priority, the Government must now take immediate action to fully implement the emergency measures which UNEP outlined to address urgent public health concerns... The Government must also strengthen regulation of the oil industry.. The role of the oil companies should be limited to providing the resources for the clean-up, so that they are not in the position to decide how the clean-up is managed... Crucial to...success...will be the continued and active engagement of communities and civil society...

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Article
1 June 2016

Environmental rights activist applauds President Buhari's announcement of cleanup of oil polluted sites in Ogoniland

Author: Nnimmo Bassey, former head of Friends of the Earth International, and before that of ERAction/FOE Nigeria, in Daily Post (Nigeria)

"Nnimmo Bassey: Ogoni clean up – Standing before history", 2 June 2016

Today we stand in solidarity with our peoples who still breathe air loaded with hydrocarbon fumes, drink water laced with toxic chemicals, fish and farm in polluted lands...Today we applaud the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari as he flags off the cleaning of the environment of Ogoniland...As members of civil society, and concerned peoples of this great nation, we pledge to contribute our quota to see that this is not a mere political event, but one that is...implemented with clear targets and milestones, with best available expertise and with the full inclusion of local communities...With decades of extreme hydrocarbons pollution, the environment of Ogoniland and several places in the Niger Delta has been out of control. The environment that ought to provide the backdrop for life, safety and progress, indeed turned hostile, becoming an impediment to the enjoyment of the right to life...

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Article
1 June 2016

Niger delta oil spill clean-up launched – but could take quarter of a century

Author: John Vidal, Guardian (UK)

UN hopes $1bn operation will boost employment and drive development among Ogoniland communities devastated by contamination from spills... A $1bn clean-up of one of the world’s most oil-polluted regions will be officially launched on Thursday by the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari. But it will be at least 18 months before full remedial work starts in Ogoniland in the Niger delta, and possibly 25 years before all the swamps, creeks, fishing grounds and mangroves are restored after decades of spills by Shell, the national oil firm [NNPC] and other oil companies... It is expected that many young Ogoni will be offered jobs, with several hundred engineers possibly being trained abroad...

Shell has been widely blamed...[but] claims to have done much of the [cleanup] work already. “...15 Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) joint venture sites ...have been reassessed, and where...required...have been remediated...,” it said...

...[The] start of the official clean-up was this week welcomed by community leaders, and international and domestic NGOs...[including] Mene Michael Porobunu, a...leader [of the polluted Bodo community]... But some neighbouring communities said they were angry that they would not benefit from the clean-up, despite strong claims that they have been heavily impacted by pollution.

[also refers to Agip (part of Eni), Aiteo, Total]

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