Ogoni cleanup, soul reviving exercise — Minister

03 June 2016, Abuja – The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has described the launch of the clean-up of Ogoniland and other oil impacted communities in the Niger Delta region as soul reviving.

*Oil spill clean up activities in Bodo, Ogoni-land.

*Oil spill clean up activities in Bodo, Ogoniland.

Usani made this remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

While noting that the exercise would revive the hope of inhabitants of the area, the minister, however, urged them to ensure a peaceful atmosphere for a smooth operation.

This, he said, was critical to ensuring that government’s effort would not be in vain.

He explained that the clean-up programme was under the purview of the Ministry of Environment, which had worked out modalities with strategic stakeholders and partners, for its success.

He added that the modalities of the exercise and other details would be developed, adopted by all stakeholders and partners and made public in due time.

This, he said, would act as a complementary guide to the Ogoniland clean-up and other affected areas. “Such modalities will act as a complementary guide to the clean-up and it will help configure a sound planning, operational and quality management track.”

The minister added that transparency and accountability would be ensured in the entire exercise, which is expected to last between 25 and 30 years.

“There will be no shortcuts because we are aiming to get the best international standard in this clean-up and that is why we have the United Nations Environmental Programme on board.

“We will have the best hands that will handle all the processes and so the logistical process will be done properly.

“This, will be a thing that will be handled by experts and there will be no shortcuts and there will be no patronage here. I believe it will be a success”.

NAN recalls that in July 2006, the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration requested the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to conduct an assessment of the environmental degradation of Ogoniland, following a proposal to the government.

The project was approved in 2007, work commenced in 2009 and was completed in January 2011.

Part of UNEP’s recommendation was an environmental restoration of Ogoniland through the cleanup of oil spillage in affected communities. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, on June 2, set in motion the one-billion-dollar clean-up and restoration programme of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta region.

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