Why Public Support for Ogoni Cleanup is Dwindling - ERA/Friends of the Earth

A civil society group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, has highlighted some of the issues responsible for the dwindling public support for the Ogoni clean-up exercise launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the group, bureaucracy, secrecy and needless controversies were among the key reasons the environmental project failed to fly as was expected by the public.

The Executive Director of the group, Godwin Uyi Ojo stated this in Lagos, at a press briefing to update the media on the Ogoni cleanup exercise.

He charged the federal government, to among other things, draw up and publish firm timelines for the Ogoni cleanup process in conjunction with all interested parties.

While noting that it took exactly five years after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report was submitted to the federal government before the cleanup exercise was flagged off in Rivers State last year, Ojo warned that the trust of the people in the processes was reducing.

“The expectation that greeted that ceremony which had the Ogoni people and hundreds of civil society groups in support has however dimmed barely a year after, as the promised cleanup is still bugged down in bureaucracy and controversies.

“The plans for the clean up is still shrouded in secrecy and has not been formally subjected to public scrutiny.

“Most important is the fact that the willful exposure of oil producing communities to hazards continue to mount as oil companies continue to operate with impunity in the Niger Delta. They have put profit before people and ecological crimes to the safety, livelihoods and well-being of the Ogoni people”, he said.