Paramount Ruler of Bodo City in Rivers state, King John Beredon, has urged the federal government to mobilize contractors to site to commence the remediation and recovery stage of the Ogoni clean-up programme.
Beredon made the call in an interview on Monday in Bodo, headquarters of Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers state.
He said that if contractors were adequately mobilized, Ogoni people and the entire Niger Delta region would have renewed confidence in the federal government’s promise to kick-start the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report implementation in Ogoniland.
However, the paramount ruler commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his political will to drive the clean-up programme and pleaded that contractors be mobilized to site without further delay.
“We expect that contractors with specialized reputation should be mobilized to site; that is the first thing we expect because the presence of the contractors will make the environment lively to accommodate other processes as stipulated in the report.
“We expect that the exercise should start in earnest with a progressive proof with contractors starting the remediation of impacted sites.
“The coast is now clear, there is absolute peace and the elections are over too, so, let the federal government begin to give adequate attention to fulfilling its promise on Ogoni clean-up.
“Going by the UNEP report, I know that the entire clean-up process is a long term programme, but I believe that if bureaucratic bottlenecks are checked, the exercise will be concluded in good time,” Beredom said.
He added that the programme with a life span of about 25 years will take quite a long period to complete, but “the truth is that our people cannot continue existing in a polluted environment for as much as a decade. That is why I’m calling on government to give urgent attention to the plight of Ogoni people and her environment.
“The federal government and relevant authorities should adopt a very active method in tackling the Ogoni clean-up just the way fire fighters will stop the spread of fire because it is long overdue.’’
The paramount ruler also said that there was the need for government to recruit only experts for the clean-up to avoid unnecessary alterations and deviation from the provisions of the UNEP report and commended government at all levels for the improved security in the state.
“From the state down to the local government, there has been an improved security formation. I want to particularly commend Governor Nyesom Wike, whose relevant synergy with the federal security has contributed towards the security improvement in my domain,” he said.