March 11, 2015 – A right group known as Rightlivelihood Laureates has petitioned the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland until the environment is detoxified and restored.
Titled “ Petition on Ogoni Environment from the Regional Conference of Asia Pacific Rightlivelihood Laureates”, signed by Environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey and other laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, it is coming as controversy ignites over reports that a Nigerian oil company, Belema Oil, may recommence oil extraction in Ogoniland, over 20 years after Shell suspended its operations
According to the group the United Nations Programme Environment Report (UNEP) report on Ogoniland shows that water in Ogoniland is polluted with benzene 900 times above World Health Organisation (WHO) standard for drinking water.
The group noted that land is polluted to the depth of 5 metres and that it will require 25 years of work to restore the water and five years to restore the land.
The group said it is amazed that nothing has been done four years after UNEP released its report.
The group demanded that the FG declare Ogoniland an ecological disaster zone and clean up the environment and called on government to provide portable drinking water for all communities in Ogoniland.
The group is in addition calling on government to commission a report to assess the entire Niger Delta region and that the world must learn that free informed consent of citizens in communities must be obtained in territories where resources are found before exploration.