Federal Government has assured on completion of the clean up of Ogoni land while adding that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is setting up strong institution to ensure that the the exercise would be duly completed even after the expiration of the administration.
Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor in her Ministerial Press Briefing in Abuja said a total of 5,345,766 cubic meters over an area about 314 acres.
The Minister, who briefed the press in company the Mohammed Yaya, the Nigeria’s Representative, United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP), Mu’azu Samboh the Minister of State for Works and Housing, and heads of agencies in the Ministry, noted that in 2019, contracts for 21 lots were awarded for remediation covering 12 of the 65 listed sites in the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report.
“These lots covered an area of 276 acres. To date 18 of these lots have been completed and certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA). Three of the lots are currently undergoing certification process and one lot is still undergoing remediation” she said.
So, she stated, an additional 29 lots were awarded for remediation of eight sites in February 2020. The area covered is 289 acres. Six of these sites, according to her, have been completed and certified by NOSDRA while two outstanding sites at Bdere and Ogale are above 60 per cent completion.
According to Ikeazor, acting on the report of UNEP in 2011, the Federal Government flagged off the Ogoniland cleanup in 2016.
Her words: “The cleanup of Ogoniland was flagged off by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2016. The Governing Council and Board of Trustees of Hydro Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) (for the management of Environmental Restoration Fund for Ogoniland) were inaugurated in August 2016 and the project coordinator’s office was established in 2017.
“The ministry is accelerating the remediation project, expanding on the livelihood programme of the hydrocarbon impacted communities. Preliminary remediation activities had commenced in early 2018, and work is at various stages of the remediation processes, with successes despite delays encountered.
“The project implementation status is between 2019 and 2021 and covers three -core areas, which are contaminated soil remediation, sustainable livelihood programme and portable water supply” she said.
On government’s support for Ogoni communities, Ikeazor said that the government has provided alternative livelihood development for Ogoni youths, women and able- bodied men as well as the physically challenge.
“Both artisanal refiners and other youths are entitled to be given the opportunity to develop and expand their existing skills or acquire new skill sets to build their capacity and empowerment.
“In 2020, a set of 400 women commenced training in agribusiness at Songhai Farms in the areas of aquaculture, poultry, cropping and food processing. The plan is to train a total of 1,200 women in agribusiness” she assured.