A group, Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, which has Ledum Mitee and 10 others as members, has called on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to prevail on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to discontinue any act that may hinder Federal Government’s plan to clean up Ogoniland.
Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, which means Elders’ Forum of the Ogoni People, also urged the Vice President to use his good offices to deploy relevant machinery to clean up the place as promised two years ago.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday and signed by the members of the group indicated that the call on Osinbajo was necessary so as to prevent the worsening of the polluted areas in Ogoniland.
The group specifically expressed sadness over an alleged agreement that the resumption of oil and gas activities in Ogoni had become a condition for the clean-up and remediation of the Ogoni environment.
“The attention of Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, the Elders Forum of the Ogoni People, has been drawn to a so-called Stakeholder Engagement with the Ogoni People” with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources slated for the 9th of July 2018.
“The main objective of the meeting, according to the invitation sent to a few selected persons, is the resumption of oil and gas production activities in Ogoniland on the basis of an alleged agreement of an earlier meeting that the resumption of oil and gas activities in Ogoni must now be a condition precedent for the much-hyped clean-up and remediation of the Ogoni environment under Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project.
“We, therefore, call on you to use your good offices to deploy the relevant machinery to effectively commence the clean-up of Ogoniland to prevent further aggravation of the already repulsive magnitude of environmental pollution of the land.
“We also wish to implore you to advise the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to discontinue any divisive measures that would impede the Federal Government’s plan to clean up Ogoni land as promised by Your Excellency during the flag-off of the project,” the statement read.
Describing the alleged move to resume oil and gas activities in Ogoniland as a sensitive matter, the Ogoni elders insisted that the issue required a thorough and painstaking engagement process with far broader stakeholders and not the selected few that were currently engaged.
“We are further seriously concerned that two years after the much publicised flag-off ceremony for the clean-up of Ogoniland as recommended by the United Nations Environmental Programme by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is now tying the expected commencement of the clean-up and remediation process to resumption of oil and gas activities in our land by his preferred company.