Tony John, Port Harcourt
People of Ogoni ethnic nationality of Rivers State have called on the Federal Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to carry out an emergency health audit in the area.
They said many residents are suffering from different ailments due to exposure to the polluted environment, saying the audit would help to find out the cause of the alleged sicknesses in the area.
A non-governmental organisation, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), made the call yesterday, during a press briefing on Ogoni Environmental Development, Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Peace, and urged the Federal Government to set up a committee to monitor the Ogoni cleanup project.
Leader of the group, Douglas Fabeke, said there has been economic crisis in the area, saying the Federal Government needs to address the problem.
“There has been economic crisis in Ogoniland and we are talking with government to stop the economic crisis. Ogoni must be free from marginalization which our martyrs died for.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to set up a committee to monitor the implementation of the UNEP report. If it is not properly monitored it may affect the efficiency of the project and affect the trust the people have on the government,” Fabeke said.
He said it was worrisome that for decades, Bori, which is the traditional headquarters Ogoni and Khana Local Government Area of the state, has not been developmed.