Odih Abraham Smith, Abuja.
The senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, said on Thursday that no meaningful clean up exercise would take place in Ogoni land at the moment due to serious security challenges in the oil-rich area.
Abe, who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, stated this while addressing journalists shortly after his bill on the establishment of the University of Environment, Science and Agriculture, scaled second reading in the Senate.
He said despite the award of contracts to the contractors that would carry out the clean-up, the exercise would be stalled due to the unabated security challenges in the area.
He said, “I am aware that contracts for the clean up of Ogoni land have been awarded. Right now as we speak, the security situation in the area does not provide for a meaningful economic or even contractual activity to go on.
“As we talk now, every day, at least six people are killed in one community or the other. There is no day that they are not killing people.
“Many residents of the various communities have abandoned their homes and ran away due to violence. So, in that kind of atmosphere, it will be difficult for me to say there is any contractor somewhere in the bush alone, working.
“I don’t think that is possible at this time to do the clean up but I know that contracts have awarded and I believe that it is our responsibility as a nation to address these security issues so that real development can take place.
“Any clean up that goes on without first addressing the issue of the continued pollution of the environment is a waste of everybody’s money because as the clean up is going on, the criminals will be spoiling the exercise.
“Addressing the security issues in Ogoni land is foundational to the success of the clean up.”