Community perceptions of the Ogoni Clean-up Project Report
Oil pollution is widespread in the Niger Delta and is caused by a combination of poor maintenance, corrosion, faulty equipment, failed clean-up attempts, ‘bunkering’ (i.e. large-scale illegal tapping of oil from pipelines) as well as ‘artisanal refining’ (i.e. small-scale, illegal refining of oil). In June 2016, the Federal Government of Nigeria officially launched the Ogoni clean-up process to implement the recommendations of a detailed environmental assessment by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published in 2011, to restore livelihood and the environment.
Subsequently, in 2017, the Government established and mandated the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to oversee the clean-up process. The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) sought to understand the perceptions of Ogoni communities of the clean up process. Results therefrom would enable HYPREP adopts fit-for-purpose communication strategy that would contribute to achieving inclusive and violence free remediation.
The research adopted focus group discussions, desk-based reviews, surveys and interviews to collect data from critical stakeholders including the locals, diplomats, members of State and Federal Parliament, Federal and State Ministries of Environment and Civil Society Organizations. The local communities are negative about their well-being, primarily because of oil pollution. Oil spill response system in Ogoniland is poor, while many stakeholders do not have an understanding of what the Ogoni clean-up exercise could deliver and what it could not.
In addition, Ogoni communities have a somewhat negative impression of the clean-up project so far, primarily because of the long delays and lack of tangible results in the still highly polluted areas. Nevertheless, there is significant optimism that the clean-up project could still operate smoothly and achieve its overall goal, but only if key drivers are sincere and committed. If there is effective women inclusion and livelihood capacity building, sufficient funding for the clean-up activities as well as inclusive and proactive communication and community participation in the actual clean-up activities.
Ogoni communities have high expectations of the clean-up project that go beyond the cleaning up of oil spills and environmental remediation. Recommendations include improved, inclusive bottom-up community engagement strategy, women and youths’ involvement in the clean-up project, conflict prevention and avoidance of re-pollution due to ‘bunkering’ (oil theft) and artisanal refining. The report elaborated some of the recommendations into concrete action plans, which are meant as inputs for continued dialogue between the various stakeholders in the Ogoni clean-up process.
You can download the report through the link below:
DOWNLOAD LINK: http://cehrd.org.ng/research/communities_perceptions_of_the_ogoni_cleanup_project.pdf