As part of efforts 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) recently organised a two day environmental reporting training for Journalists in Rivers State. The trainees selected from both the print and electronic media embarked on toxic tour of Ogoni land. Presenting his paper titled “Overcoming the gaps in Nigeria’s Environmental Reportage” held last week in Port Harcourt, executive director of ERA, Dr Godwin 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 identified religion, youths and media as major segments in nation building, adding that Journalists should do more on environmental investigative reporting.
Also speaking on the delay in the Ogoni clean up, Dr Ojo urged the federal government of Nigeria to follow the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme report on Ogoni land.
ERA pleaded that the federal government should constitute Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority to manage the process as recommended by UNEP if they want to prove ready to remedy the Ogoni environment. Ojo stated that the federal government does not have the will to implement the clean up 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 HYREP. We lack confidence in HYPREP to carry out the process.
“HYPREP cannot do the project because they lack machinery and capacity to drive it. But Ogoni working hand-in-hand with NOSDRA (National Oil Spill Detection Remediation Agency), UNEP and other technical partners, will guarantee ogoni will be cleaned.”