REPS TO MONITOR CLEANING UP OF OGONILAND
People of Ogoniland in Rivers Sate have been assured that federal lawmakers will put in place effective oversight mechanisms to monitor the restoration of the devastated environment of Ogoniland and other communities affected by oil spills in the Niger Delta.
While acknowledging the submission of the report of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on the Ogoni Oil Spill as a first step in redressing the despoliation of affected communities, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, cautioned against attempts to pass the buck by concerned corporate operators involved in the matter.
'All those involved must take full responsibility for the consequences of exploration activities as it is the case in developed countries where some of them are headquartered.'
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Oke Epia, Ihedioha recalled the rapid global response which greeted the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the United States of America last year and therefore expressed hope that the Federal Government would waste no time in driving an implementation process that would address the grave environmental issues raised in Ogoniland and other areas of the Niger delta.
The Deputy Speaker expressed the commitment of the House as representatives of the people, to ensure that the principles of international best practices and values of good corporate governance are brought to bear in the oil and gas industry in the overall interest of host communities and the larger Nigerian nation.
'In this regard, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be given expeditious attention when the House resumes from its recess, among other results-driven measures that would be taken to ensure that corporate actors and relevant government departments and agencies in the oil and gas industry do not shirk their responsibilities to reclaim and protect the environment in which they operate and as well as improve the lives and living conditions of the inhabitants.'
A recent report of fact-findings on the environmental impact of oil exploration in Ogoniland indicted Shell and the Federal Government in handling the Ogoni crisis arising from pollution from oil spillage and the destruction of aquatic life. Over $60 billion was estimated as solving the environmental degradation from oil spill and destruction of marine life in Ogoniland alone.