Nigeria’s oil rich Ogoni land in Rivers State, one of the places where international oil company Shell exploited crude for decades, is not satisfied with the progress of a $1 billion environmental cleanup programme put in place by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for which the oil major was supposed to cough up a large chunk of the funds.
Ogoni land is a key oil producer straddling communities in Eleme, Tai, Khana and Gokana local government areas of Rivers State, and its people have come out with strong blames on the administration over failure to commence the $1 billion Ogoni cleanup programme.
It is now more than a year since the president flagged off the cleanup, but activities so far on the programme as promised have shown “clear signs of failure, and not profitable to the Ogoni people,” say the Ogoni people.
“What the Ogoni need now is for the land to be restored and not endless talk on internal processes and preparations. The people in Ogoni are dying by the day, and Shell and the Nigerian government through HYPREP are busy calling press conferences and explaining their endless preparations,” said Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Ogoni pressure group.
MOSOP in a strong reaction to a statement by the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) said Ogoni people were not swayed by alleged deception of HYPREP, but would continue their peaceful approach to press home the Ogoni demands for a better deal, as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights.
“The only solution to the Ogoni problem is for the government to respect the rights and demands of Ogoni people, as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights; and not the sneaky attempts and connivance with some few to force resumption of oil production in Ogoniland,” said Fegalo Nsuke, spokesman for MOSOP.
The Ogoni umbrella body described as purposeless and a distraction, a press briefing by HYPREP on August 3 at the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt.
This is coming when some economic analysts have projected that the overall theme for Nigeria’s economy in the second half of 2018 (H2-18) is “caught between two stools.” That the economy hangs on a balance between uncertainties around global geopolitical and local pre-election uncertainties.
According to these analysts, inflation rate in the country is likely to creep back to 12.9% by year-end, from the May 11.29%. And would average 12.6% for the year.
“We think events in the local and global economy do not favour a rate cut in the immediate term, hence, we expect the MPC [monetary policy committee] to keep rates unchanged in H2-18,” said analysts at United Capital in a half year review.
For Ogoni land, whose people have waited for the environmental cleanup since 2011, hopes are next to hopeless. They may not realize their dream of getting their land remediated as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its August 2011 technical report.
They said “HYPREP’s attempt at image laundering is deceptive as the Ogoni cleanup exists only in words, and on the lips of government agents and advocates of oil resumption in Ogoniland.”