State of Ogoni Clean-up, worrisome – Norwegian Ambassador

Jens-Peter Kjemprud, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, has expressed concern over the slow pace of work at the sites of Ogoniland clean up.

The ambassador said the state of the entire exercise is worrisome and that the Ogoni clean up might not be completed at the stipulated time.

Spoke while receiving members of Environmental Media Correspondents Association, led by its Chairman, Chuks Onyema in his office in Abuja, Kjemprud expressed worry that activities at sites are very slow, adding the clean up might take over 50 years to be completed if urgent step not taken.

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He said the Norwegian government supports the cleanup exercise because the devastating effects on human lives, animals, ‘imagine the people drinking polluted water.’

The UNEP report according to him is now seven years old, and since 21 contractors were mobilised to sites, work has not started, and they are concerned about the cleanup project in Niger Delta.

“Climate change is so enormous; at times a nation may not know where to begin and to end; coastal erosion in the south and desertification in the north are great to challenge for Nigeria.

“We discovered that lifespan in the area is average because the environment has been destroyed and polluted by oil. The people are having health challenges, and they are running out of patience”, he said.

Also speaking, the Deputy Head of Mission, Ingrid Skjolaas, called on the media to visit the sites of the clean up to have the first assessment and to give comprehensive reportage of what is happening to the project.

Earlier, the Chairman of EMCAN, Chuks Oyema had told the Ambassador that the association was formed to report and deepen the coverage of what is happening in the environment generally. He added:

“In 2019, Norway increased support to UNEP, it is committed to 30 per cent reduction in Green House Gas, GHG emission by 2020, a return to 1990 levels. We want to learn from Norway,” he said.