Amidst expectations over the historic visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Ogoni for the commencement of the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, the federal government has been urged to engage the community people.
Giving this advice in an exclusive interview in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, on Monday, the former President of the Movement for the survival of Ogoni people, MOSOP, Barrister Ledum Mitee, said it was necessary to approach the community people to avoid “suspicion”.
Mitee said that people from the most polluted communities of Ogoni “are not aware of the planned implementation. There is no information to that effect my people are not aware of what is going on. They should create a channel of communication between the community people and government.
“These people have to be carried along. They need to be enlightened about your plans. But I have a reservation about these whole thing. The board for the implementation of the report has not been put in place. How can you implement the report without setting up a board?
“As far as I am concerned, not everything in that report looks good to me. There supposed to be center for excellence established in Ogoni. As at today, I have not seen that on ground yet. So, I don’t know what they are doing”, Mitee said.
The former MOSOP president said he does not have much information as expected by his community people on the UNEP implementation. “I went home in the Easter holiday, scores of people from my community came to ask me what I knew about the implementation and I told them I had no information.
“It is very important to engage the people positively. There is not point working at variance. The people must be involved in the process of the implementation. This will dismiss any form of suspicion”, he said.
President Buhari is expected in Ogoni in a couple of weeks to flag off the UNEP implementation process.