THE Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) is to meet President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss the timeline for the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.
MOSOP Provisional Council Chairman, Prof. Ben Naanen, who disclosed this, however warned that delay in the implementation of the report might result in a series of peaceful mass action by Ogoni people in the days to come.
Naanen said during the planned meeting, Ogoni leadership would demand an assurance from Jonathan of his commitment to the full implementation of the UNEP report, which revealed widespread pollution of Ogoni environment.
He said the people are becoming increasingly agitated over the failure of the Federal Government to show any concrete commitment to addressing the danger they are at present exposed to.
The UNEP, which submitted its report in August last year, had recently warned that extended delays in implementing a major clean-up of Ogoniland will result in oil pollution spreading and exacerbating the conditions for the people and the surrounding areas.
To this end, Naanen expressed optimism that the proposed talks with President Jonathan would eventually lead to a speedy clean-up of Ogoniland.
The UNEP report had mentioned that the most serious case of groundwater contamination was detected at Nisisioken Ogale in Eleme Local Council, close to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) product pipeline.
According to the report, the drinking water from nearby wells was found to be contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, at levels over 900 times above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline.
On the worrisome issue of artisan refining and oil theft in Ogoni, the MOSOP leader urged the Federal Government to intervene to end the menace. He, however, blamed some security agents for encouraging bunkering and urged the government to evolve economic schemes to discourage the act.
“I have mentioned to the government several times that one way of combating bunkering is to provide alternative living for the people,” Naanen said and assured that MOSOP will continue to appeal to Ogoni youths to be calm and patient, since the body believes in a non-violent means of agitating for its rights.
“Already, the issue is receiving international attention. As I speak to you now, all our affiliates across the world and other stakeholders are mobilising just in case the Federal Government refuses to act as quickly as possible,” said Naanen.
Similarly, former MOSOP president, Ledum Mitee, has urged the Federal Government to stop artisan refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
Mitee said the illegal refining of crude oil, which is now commonplace in the region, is already having tremendous devastating impact on the environment and the lives of the people.
He stated this at the public presentation of a book, ‘Perceptions and Reality: Documenting the Amnesty Process in the Niger Delta Region’ in Port Harcourt.
The book, which was published by the Centre for Advanced Social Science (CASS), Port Harcourt, was co-authored by Dr. Sofiri Joab-Peterside, Stephen Okodudu, Eme Ekekwe and Issac Zeb-Obipi. Mitee expressed dismay that government had ignored the committee’s recommendation to urgently stop illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta. According to him, the failure to decisively stop the illicit economic sabotage has resulted in many rivers and seas in the Niger Delta being destroyed.