From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Federal Government has again expressed commitment in the cleanup of Ogoniland, as it handover 36 new sites to contractors for remediation of the degraded environment, including the complex areas.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, had during the official handover of the sites in Eleme, Tai and Gokana Local Government Areas of Rivers state, at the weekend.
He explained that the on-going Ogoni remediation project is the largest globally, assuring that the project will be executed according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), guidelines.
Dr. Abubakar recalled that 21 sites were commissioned for remediation in 2018, adding that and with the new 36 lots, HYPREP, will be supervising the remediation of 57 sites in Ogoniland.
He reiterated that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-government is not only serious with the cleanup, but dedicated to the remediation of Ogoniland as contained in the UNEP report.
“We need improvement, so changes that will be coming that will improve the job, changes that will make sure the project is going to be completed according to the specifications of UNEP,” he said.
Also speaking, the Project Coordinator, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, assured that the project will be done according to the specifications in the UNEP report.
“It will be completely cleaned both ground water and soil. We are doing the complex sites assessment and we are remediating the ground water at the same time this year,” he said.
During a courtesy visit to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, the governor declared that the Ogoni cleanup exercise can only succeed when the federal government stops playing politics with the programme.
He requested for the inclusion of the state government in the cleanup exercise, for proper grassroots coordination
“The programme is not working because they see it as politics. They are using unqualified contractors to execute the project. Handing over remediation site to contractors does not mean the work has been done,” he stated.