From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
As part of effxort to improve frequency and build capacity of Nigerian journalists to go beyond merely reporting the state of the environment, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) yesterday, commenced a two-day environmental reporting training for journalists in Rivers State.
The trainees, selected from both the print and electronic mediums, were expected to embark on toxic tour of Ogoni land today (Thursday).
Presenting his paper “Overcoming the gaps in Nigeria’s Environmental Reportage” at the opening session held yesterday in Port Harcourt, Executive Director of ERA, Dr Goodwin Uyi Ojo, said the training became necessary because there is need for journalists to be aware of the gaps in environmental reporting and strategies to overcome such challenges.
He noted religion, youths and media as the major segments in nation building, adding that journalists should do more on environmental investigative reporting.
Also speaking on the delay in the Ogoni cleanup, Dr Ojo, urged the Federal Government to follow the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme report on Ogoni land.
ERA appealed to FG to constitute Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority to manage the process as recommended by UNEP, if they are ready to remediate the Ogoni environment.
Ojo, stated that the FG does not have the will to implement the cleanup of Ogoni land, pointing out that the use of HYPREP as against the recommendation of UNEP was already a deviation.
He said: “Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority should be constituted to implement the project and not HYPREP. We lack confidence in HYPREP to carry out the process.
“HYPREP cannot do the project because they lack the machinery and they do not have the capacity to drive it. But, Ogoni working hand in hand with NOSDRA, National Oil Spill Detection Remediation Agency, UNEP and other technical partners Ogoni will be cleaned.
He added that “CSOs are planning protest against HYPREP. Shell is responsible for the issue in Ogoni yet they are members of the Governing Council and Board of Trustee of HYPREP, so they are teleguiding the whole process.”