UNEP says the money required over a five-year period should be provided by oil companies and the Nigerian government.
According to UNEP however, full environmental restoration of Ogoniland may take up to 30 years.
In a press statement issued today July 4, 2011, the UN agency notes that the environmental restoration of Ogoniland could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves are to be brought back to full, productive health.
UNEP arrived at this conclusion after it had conducted what it describes as a major new independent scientific assessment, which shows that “pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed.”
According to UNEP, the assessment which has been unprecedented, was carried over a 14-month period and more than 200 locations were examined, 122 kilometres of pipeline rights of way were surveyed, more than 5,000 medical records were reviewed and over 23,000 people were engaged at local community meetings.
“Detailed soil and groundwater contamination investigations were conducted at 69 sites, which ranged in size from 1,300 square metres (Barabeedom-K.dere, Gokana local government area (LGA) to 79 hectares (Ajeokpori-Akpajo, Eleme LGA).
Altogether more than 4,000 samples were analyzed, including water taken from 142 groundwater monitoring wells drilled specifically for the study and soil extracted from 780 boreholes,” it says.
UNEP presented the report today August 4, 2011 to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. The report the statement says, however urges that all sources of ongoing contamination must be brought to an end before the clean-up can begin.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi