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…REVIEWS $1BN UN CLEAN-UP FUND

By NBF News
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Senate on Tuesday mandated Committees on Environment, Petroleum Upstream and Niger Delta to study the report of the United Nations (UN) on the damage caused by oil spillage in Ogoni land and review the $1billion recommended for the initial clean-up.

The committee have been given eight weeks to report back to the Senate on the UN report.

The Senate resolution is consequent on a motion by Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed which noted that the $1 billion was grossly inadequate and not a true representation of the extent of damage in the area.

Senators who contributed to the debate argued that the proposed fund overlooked the issues of compensation to communities, rehabilitation of deprived, destabilised and displaced persons.

Some Senators asked the Federal Government to review upwards, the proposed $1 billion 'to meet with the realities of environmental degradation, social deprivations and economic dislocation in the region.'

In its resolution, Senate, however, directed the relevant committees to do a review of the report of the UN with a view to establish the appropriateness or otherwise of the suggestion.

Science and Technology Committee Chairman, Senator Ajayi Borofice noted that 'oil spillage results in benzene contamination which has the potential to cause cancer and inflict ill-health on future generations.'

He pleaded with the relevant agencies in the country to put measures in place that would stem the tide.

On his part, Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Ahmed Lawan, lamented the country's lack of commitment in getting multinationals to behave in Nigeria. This failure, said Lawan, has affected aggravated the sufferings of the Ogoni people.