The Founder and President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), a civil society group in Nigeria concern with ensuring the restoration of Ogoni polluted environment, Dauglas Fabeke, has said that Ogoniland has suffered an estimated economic loss over N4 trillion due to oil spill in the last 60 years.
Fabeke who spoke in a news statement in Bori town in Khana, Local Government Area of Rivers state, the claim followed a report of a private evaluation his Organization conducted in the four Local Government Areas of the state recently.
He said the ecinomic evaluation exercise was meant to ascertain the volume of damages in the area by environmental degradation caused by failure of the Federal Government (FG), and the polluter, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to clean up oil spill sites, including water bodies and remediate them for productivity.
Speaking during the event, the Ogoni indigenes said, “we embarked on a practical and professional environmental evaluation of the polluted sites of the area, this has not been carried out since the inception of oil pollution in the area in 1958.
“Oil production started in Ogoniland in 1958, and since then there has been high level of oil spillages that have caised serious environmental damage in the comunities, it was for this reason the Ogoni Martyrs led by Ken Saro-Wiwa were killed.
“The Federal Government flagged off the cleaning of the environment in line with the recommendation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), after they had assessed the situation.
“It is true that the United Nations (UN), conducted assessment of the oil impacted sites, but it did not evaluate the cost of the damages fone to the entire Ogoniland, we understand that this has to be done, and this is the aspect of the report, OLI in partnership with some professionals in the field, sector have conducted secretly and privately to before arriving at the amount mentioned.
“What we did was to carry out the damage evaluations, the economic damage,the lost fish, agriculture among others, the amount mentioned was the total financial value of damage, lost suffered by the Ogonis in the four local governments Areas and six kingdoms of the land, (Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme LGAs), to oil spillage in over 60 years.” he explained.
He stated that the economic evaluation was discretely carried out in each of the Kingdoms and LGAs and it sumed up to N4 trillion.
Fabeke employed the Federal Government and the polluters, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to pay the sum to the Ogonis as the clean up the area, insisting that payment of the amount is part of the conditions to resume oil production in the area.
“We are aware the the Federal Government is making moves to come back to continue with oil exploration in Ogoniland, we are not against that but that cannot be done without settling all outstanding scores, in addition to cleaning up the old mess, to creat space for new ones.” he stated.
Speaking further said, “Within the period of 1958 to 1993 which Shell operated here, Ogoni people benefited nothing. We demand that Government of Nigerian and Shell should carry out emergency medical audit on every son and daughters of Ogoni because of exposure to pollution.
“We are calling on the federal government to set up a committee to monitor the implementation of the UNEP report. If it is not properly monitored it may affected the efficiency of the project and affect the trust the people have on the government of the nation.”
Fabeke stated that the Ogoni nation has contributed a lot to the economic well being of the nation, adding it was time for the nation to also invest in Ogoni.
He said: “It is time for the nation to pay a price for the economic growth of the Ogoni people, because we have paid ours.
“We have legally documented reports to pursue payment of damages on the environmental damages amounting to N4 trillion, based on a document we found from late Ken Saro-Wiwa. We are ready for armless and peaceful dialogue.” he stated.