Group clears air on Bodo community clean-up

Site of an oil spillage PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) under the Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI), has said that the only possible way to mitigate against continued exposure to the negative consequences of the polluted environment is to commence clean- up and remediation in the community.

A media statement by BMI said that the SCAT results were worrisome but not surprising, as they confirmed the high level of oil contamination in the Bodo Creek.

This, it said however, did not warrant immediate emergency measures, saying, the extent of the pollution was known, people were already aware they had to stay out of polluted areas – but rather emphasised the need for clean-up.

It stated: “SCAT is a cradle to grave process. It was to continue throughout the duration of the project to monitor and evaluate progress.

“Sadly, the clean-up process was shut down by Bodo community members two weeks after the report was released, because these community members wanted to receive money rather than have their Bodo community cleaned-up.

“As of then, the main priority of the BMI was to ensure that all parties, in particular the Bodo community, would re-commit to the BMI process and clean-up of the Bodo community. The SCAT report results were kept under consideration until the clean-up could be relaunched.”

The statement noted that the Bodo mediation process is a delicate process based on trust and confidentiality. “Documents are shared with relevant BMI stakeholders on a need to know basis. The SCAT report was shared with relevant BMI stakeholders and its contents were used to inform the Bodo community, it added.

It explained that the Project Director, Kay Holtzman’s six month contract was not extended following constant appraisal/evaluation by the BMI technical team, which consisted of the Bodo delegation, SPDC, NOSDRA and Ministry  of Environment.

It noted that in view of Kay Holtzman’s poor performance the BMI technical team recommended that a more competent project director should be sourced for.

The BMI was established under the auspices of the former Dutch Ambassador who, until 2015 co-chaired the mediation process to deliver the clean-up of Bodo.

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