It is with great sadness that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has learned of the death of Nigerian scientist Clement Kemte Nekabari Faah, a valued member of UNEP's Ogoniland project team.
Clement, 50, was a senior Technical Assistant focusing on the agriculture and forestry component of UNEP's ongoing environmental assessment of oil contamination in Ogoniland, Rivers State.
Clement's sudden death on Saturday 19 February in his village, Yeghe in Gokana, has shocked and saddened his colleagues at UNEP. The circumstances in which he died are being investigated, but are not believed to be connected to his work for the United Nations.
Having joined the project in October 2009, Clement made a significant contribution to the assessment and was a core member of the UNEP team. He was involved in collecting samples of plants, soil and other data during 14 months of fieldwork and helped manage UNEP's key partnership with the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
In addition, as an Ogoni with scientific expertise, Clement provided invaluable local knowledge and continuity, and was heavily relied upon by the international and national experts working alongside him on the project.
Known for his leadership, strong ethics and open nature, Clement won the respect of his colleagues at UNEP and of many others involved in the project. He will be deeply missed.
Clement held a masters degree in environmental engineering and specialized in pollution control and waste management.
He is survived by his mother, his wife and seven children. Members of the UNEP Project Team, led by the Project Coordinator Mike Cowing, yesterday visited Clement's widow to pay their respects. A memorial service is being planned.