Legborsi Pyagbara, factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has said that despite attempts by the Federal Government to clean up polluted sites in Ogoniland, Ogoni communities still aid activities oil thieves who are polluting the area.
Pyagbara who spoke during a symposium organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Port Harcourt on Wednesday with the topic ” UNEP Report: Assessing Stakeholders Compliance in Ogoni clean up” as part of activities marking the 2019 Correspondents’ Week, said the organization played the role assigned to it in the UNEP report.
“The communities are in full support of their children engaging in such acts. Before now, we thought it was only women that were supporting the artisanal refining, but we have realized that men are in full support.
“A few months ago, I held a meeting with people of the communities where these illegal activities are high. To my greatest surprise, they told me that if their children stop the artisanal refining, where would they get money to feed them?”
The MOSOP leader said that the number of impacted sites in the area has grown significantly beyond what it was three years ago due to activities of illegal oil bunkering in Ogoni communities.
“Artisanal refining, which we call ‘kpofire’ or illegal bunkering is the greatest challenge facing the ongoing clean of Ogoni. It will be impossible for the clean-up exercise to be successful when kpofire business is going on”, he warned.
He pleaded for the support of the Media in engaging in a serious campaign against the menace.
He reminded the audience that Ogoni ethnic nationality whole-heartedly accepted the clean-up exercise as recommended by the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) because it had to do with the environment, adding that his organisation, MOSOP, was playing the role assigned to it by UNEP.
“On the post-assessment stage of the cleanup, MOSOP has played the roles given to it by the UNEP report. We had a challenge convincing the people that money will not be shared because UNEP report did not recommend payment of compensation to impacted communities.”