JONATHAN URGES OGONI TO COOPERATE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSORS
President Goodluck Jonathan has stressed that the main objective of the ongoing assessment of the environmental impact of oil contamination in Ogoniland is to establish the level of pollution in the area and determine the best remedial actions.
Speaking yesterday after receiving an update on the assessment from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) which is conducting the exercise at the request of the Federal Government, President Jonathan urged the people of Ogoniland to support and cooperate with those conducting the exercise as its outcome would help to ameliorate the negative impact of oil contamination on their environment.
The President said that the Federal Government would work with the Rivers State Government and leaders of the Ogoni people to overcome the security challenges in parts of Ogoniland which were hindering the completion of the extensive assessment of the environmental and public health impacts of oil contamination in the area.
He thanked UNEP, the Shell Petroleum Development Company and members of the Ogoni Reconciliation Committee headed by Rev. Mathew Hassan Kukah for their roles in the assessment exercise, saying that he looked forward to receiving the report.
The UNEP Project Manager for the Assessment, Mr. Mike Cowing had earlier told the President that a team of over 100 Nigerian and foreign experts were currently engaged in the exercise which began last year.
He said that the scientific assessment of collected samples began in the second quarter of this year and that UNEP could present a final report to the government by early next year if the challenges its assessors were facing in the Gokana Local Government Area were removed.