Work truly in progress on Bonny Road but new pollution exposed – witness

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By Fyneface D. Fyneface

A new level of hydrocarbon pollution of Ogoni environment has been
discovered as exposed by the ongoing construction of the N120.6billion
Bodo-Bonny Road.  The 34-kilometer long road is being constructed by
Julius Berger Plc through the swampy and muddy creeks of Bodo
community in Gokana Local Government Area to Grand Bonny Kingdom in
Bonny Local Government area of Rivers State.

A visit to the Bodo community axis of the project site on Thursday,
January 10 by a team comprising of environmental justice campaigners,
environment monitors, journalists and volunteers exposed a stretch of
vast expanse of massively hydrocarbon pollution devastated areas
covering miles and miles away.

The team which was led by Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, Ogoni/Niger
Delta Environmental Justice Campaigner said the team drove over 7km
from Patrick Waterfront where Ogoni cleanup was flagged-off in 2016 up
to kilometers 7+900 on the new Bodo-Bonny road where sites of
pollution could be seen many more kilometers away. His words “As we
drove 7+900KMs (as seen written at the point we stopped) from Patrick
Waterfront where Ogoni/Niger Cleanup was flagged-off on June 2, 2016
towards Bonny Island where the Bodo-Bonny road is being constructed
to, we were greeted by a new sight of pollution and devastated
environment that I never knew existed in Ogoniland”. Fyneface said.

Mr. Fyneface who said the main purpose of the trip as a development
concerned citizen was to ascertain whether work was actually ongoing
on the Bodo-Bonny road as stated by President Muhammadu Buhari during
the presentation of the 2019 budget at the National Assembly on
December 19, 2018 but was booed by some lawmakers including those from
Rivers State told journalists that the visit did not only reveal that
work is actually ongoing on the project as the President said but that
the ongoing construction exposes a new level of pollution that may not
have been captured or reported in the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland released on August 4, 2011. “I
was shocked to see this extent of pollution in that part of Ogoni
alone. I do not think that this level of pollution, stretching over
8kms from flag-off point and continuing as far as eyes can see towards
Bonny Island was captured in the UNEP report on Ogoniland”. Fyneface
said.

“There is need to re-assess these new level of hydrocarbon pollution
being revealed by ongoing construction of Bodo-Bonny road while the
cleanup of other impacted sites commences. With what I saw today,
Ogoniland cannot be cleaned up without simultaneously cleaning the
environment in neighbouring communities like Ogu/Bolo, Andoni, Opobo,
Okrika, Bonny, etc. that share common water boundaries. I use this
opportunity to invite environmental justice activists, campaigners,
environmental organizations, institutions and media organizations
locally and globally to take advantage of the road being constructed
to Bonny through Bodo creeks to visit the area and experience the new
level of pollution I saw today. Such visits will enhance our
collaboration for a strong campaign to stop re-pollution in Ogoniland
and the Niger Delta region as cleanup gets on the way”. Fyneface said.

It would be recalled that Shell Petroleum Development Company of
Nigeria (SPDC) accepted responsibility for multiple oil spills in the
area up to 2009 and paid 55million British Pounds to the Bodo community
in 2015 as part of out of court settlement following a case instituted
by the community against it over the spills in a London Court.

Mr. Fyneface reiterate call on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation
Project (HYPREP) to commence the actual cleanup of Ogoni environment
without further delay while the Federal Government, SPDC, etc. should
ensure the availability and adequate funding of the project.

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