Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, has asked Shell Nigeria to pay compensation to polluted host communities.
Dr Ojo further called the company to pay for the clean-up of the rest of the Niger Delta due to the devastating effect of the oil giant’s operations on its host communities.
The call was made at a press briefing in Benin City, where he spoke on a presentation entitled ‘No Clean-up, No Justice: Report launch and press briefing on the Ogoni Clean up’.
The ERA/FoEN director said for more than five decades the people of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta have struggled against oil pollution, environmental degradation and human rights violations.
He said in 2011, a groundbreaking report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on oil pollution in Ogoniland had acknowledged the devastating impact of the oil industry and made recommendations for emergency measures to support affected communities and clean-up of the environment.
He said his organisation and its allies have campaigned for the clean-up of the polluted Niger Delta and in particular the clean-up of the polluted Ogoniland by Shell and that, based on their regular field monitoring and evidence at their disposal, they have come to the conclusion that the Federal Government Environmental Legacy Project, which is concerned with the clean-up of Ogoniland, is failing and lagging behind because the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) lacks the capacity to conduct a proper clean-up in the region.
Ojo called on the Nigerian government to urgently restructure, reorganise and overhaul HYPREP in its entirety and remove all administrative, financial and political obstacles that are stalling the progress of the clean-up process.
He also urged the authorities to be committed to transparency and investigate any allegation of conflict of interest and failures in the clean-up effort, while calling for a globally binding treaty to hold corporations accountable for their human rights violations and environmental harm.