‘Why Ogoni must be paid N4 trillion environmental damage compensation’
The Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) has vowed to legally press for compensation of N4 trillion environmental damage for the over 60 years of oil exploration in the area.
The group recalled that in 1992, Ogoni leaders demanded payment from the Federal Government to the tune of $6 billion in royalty from previous oil production covering 1958 to 1993 when the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) allegedly stopped production in the community but reportedly not paid.
OLI’s convener, Rev. Douglas Fabeke, told journalists yesterday in Bori, Khana Local Council of Rivers State that the money must be paid to Ogoni people because the group’s environmental evaluation “showed the total breakdown of destruction of the environment from 1958 till 2019 which has totally destroyed the economic value of the people, rendering the entire Ogoniland unproductive and throwing the people into a stage of continuous poverty and economic slavery.”
“In this respect, the organisation has legally filed the evaluation report and is demanding for the pursue of the environmental damage in order to compensate the Ogoni people for their economic losses from 1958 to 2019 to the sum of #4,798,361,045,605.50,” he added.
Fabeke explained that the people were demanding the payout because “between 1958 till 2019, the land experienced different high levels of environmental pollution which studies show extensive oil contaminations of rivers, creeks and ground waters in Ogoniland.”
The pollution, he added, had eliminated large areas of mangrove and caused oil spills of varying magnitudes as well as dilapidated and abandoned infrastructure.
He claimed that as of November 1992, what was due to Ogoni was $86 billion in royalties and $84 billion for alleged environmental damage.
Fabeke stated that the government accepted the Ogoni environmental debacle by inviting the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to access the pollution, regretting that since 2011 when the global agency submitted its report, not even potable water had been provided in the oil-rich community.
On health, they urged government and oil multinationals to ensure the right thing is done by way of audit and provision.
The OLI official pleaded with the government to absolve Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight of the killings in 1996 that eventually claimed their lives.
“Government should look into the UNEP report and make sure that all recommendations are carried out and a committee set up to investigate the Ogoni cleanup, how it is being done and the company that got the contract.”