Communities in Ogoni in Rivers have promised to support ongoing efforts to implement the UNEP report and clean up the polluted environment.
The Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey, said in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, that the communities took the decision after a capacity building workshop in Ogoni on Friday.
Mr. Bassey said HOMEF organised the workshop on Building Community Resilience Towards the Implementation of the UNEP Report at Ken Saro-Wiwa Peace Centre, Bori, Ogoni Rivers as a peace building effort to avert conflict.
He said the training sought to develop the skills needed for participants to promote, mentor and serve as watchdogs on the implementation of the UNEP report.
He said the participants drawn from Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme Local Government Areas observed that Ogoni environment is a disaster zone in dire need of clean up.
“They observed that the plan by government to implement the report of the United Nations Environment Programme on the Ogoni Environment is the right step to take.
“The implementation of the UNEP report will not be effective without the full support of the Ogoni people.
“That there is the need for a holistic monitoring of the environmental clean up and remediation processes to ensure that a thorough work is done in line with the recommendations of the UNEP Report,” he said.
Mr. Bassey said stakeholders in the proposed clean up and remediation of Ogoni land resolved to undertake sensitization and awareness of all Ogoni communities on the UNEP report.
According to him, the sensitization will ensure that everyone is fully aware and understand the implications of the UNEP Report and to correct misconceptions about the environmental clean-up.
He said that the participants further resolved that the institutions to oversee the clean-up should be supported, while the institutions should ensure that work plans, milestones are fully discussed with the Ogoni people.
They also agreed to clarify to everyone that the clean up budget is for cleaning up the environment and is separate from funds that may be needed as compensations.
Mr. Bassey said the workshop ended with the Inauguration of the Ogoni Ecological Defenders and Monitoring Network to continually train, monitor and report on the clean-up and other ecological incidents.