Oil and non-oil bearing communities in Ogoni have said again that Federal Government should compensate them for decades of unpleasant environmental pollution they had suffered, as a result of oil
exploitation in their areas.
They have also insisted that the “unjust and illegal” verdict that led to the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others, should be reversed for possible exoneration.
The host communities took the stand at a meeting held by their representatives under the aegis of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), where they also called for the immediate sack of the Head of the Ministry of Environment and dissolution of Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Programme (HYPREP) board over their alleged compromise in the Ogoni clean up exercise.
Also, the representatives passed a vote of no confidence on the person heading that ministry and HYPREP board at the town hall meeting in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni.
They resolved: “Adequate compensation should be paid to the Ogoni people for the sufferings, death of love ones and contamination of our environment resulting from the decades of unpleasant method and manner of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the area with its attendant atrocities.
“Adopt the Report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right on Ogoni Case.
The unjust and illegal verdict that led to the killing of late Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others should be reversed for possible exoneration.”
President of OLI, Douglas Fabeke, who spoke at the meeting, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to halt further payment to HYPREP, alleging that the agency had misused the billions of naira released for the clean up.
He said: “Ever since the establishment of HYPREP, there is no single UNEP report recommendation that has been effectively implemented. All the impacted sites are still as it were.
“There is no provision of portable drinking water after decades of pollution of Ogoni source of drinking water; no central office of HYPREP in Ogoniland to enable the people have access and be abreast with the activities and programs of HYPREP.”
The host communities said they had given approval through the OLI to one of the multinational oil and gas companies to develop gas plant, refinery, as well as other related infrastructural facilities in Ogoniland.
According to them, the company (which was not disclosed) has been tested and confirmed to “be devoid of manipulation, marginalization, strangulation and divide and rule policy portrayed by Shell in Ogoniland, that will take over complete development of the Ogoniland.”
According to them, there should be a clear master plan of environmental restoration and management; considering that the host communities were plagued with environmental degradation and pollution.
Those at the meeting further noted that the clean-up exercise in Ogoniland was not in line with international standard and best practices, saying the project should be re-visited by Federal Government.
Another decision the represensetatives resolved was that, there should be established in all the six kingdoms of Ogoni, a clean drinkable water with water treatment plants of international standard as recommended by UNEP report.
They called for a reintegration of Ogoni refugees in Benin Republic and other countries in the world into the society through building of houses for them, empowerment and good welfare packages.
Similarly, they said there should be a reintegration of Ogoni militant youths who are unlawfully bearing arms against humanity, the economy and the socio-political development of their people.
Again, they called for resettlement of host communities that have suffered high level of pollution, seeing that some of the oil wells are located in their homes thereby making their living so hazardous and dangerous to life.
They noted that the resumption of oil and gas exploration and production in such land would be unattainable and impracticable, unless these settlers who are located in close proximity to oil facilities and in contaminated areas are relocated to a safer environment.