UNEP Cleanup: Project coordinator may come from Ogoni – Minister

Amina Muhammed, Minister of Environment-e1443878282700

Amina Mohammed

Mkpoikana Udoma 11 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Federal Government has hinted that the project coordinator for the proposed clean up of oil impacted sites in Ogoniland may come from Ogoni if someone from the area is found competent.

Recall that the search for the right person to man the cleanup project has recently sparked controversy in the Niger Delta region, as groups in Ogoniland had warned the government that appointment into such sensitive position should not be made along political lines.

Outgoing Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who gave the hint while speaking on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, assured that even without her being there, there would be no hiccup in the implementation of the cleanup.

Mohammed, who was last month announced as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated that the appointment of the project coordinator for the cleanup would not be made along political line because the person must be competent to carry out a billion-dollar programme for the next five to twenty years.

The minister, who assured Ogonis of getting the best person for the job based on merit, also said her appointment in the United Nations would be another means to fast-track the Ogoni cleanup.

She advised the youths of Ogoni to desist from further damaging of the environment through oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.

Said she: “In the past, appointments have not been made based on merits, or the ability to do the job. We want to set the benchmark not just for Ogoni but for the Niger Delta. We have advertise both nationally and internationally for the position of the project coordinator and we have gotten very many responses. We have been able to shortlist interviews and I can assure everybody especially the Ogonis that they will get the best coordinator for the clean up.

“This cannot be made along political line, it has to be because the person has got the competency to carry out a billion-dollar programme over the next five years essentially for the clean up and then over the next 20years the restoration and managing of expertise.

“Competence and merit comes first but let me assure everyone that we have had really good submission from Ogoni indigenes, I am hopeful that certainly there is a priority to ensure that an Ogoni person takes the project coordination position but it has to be on the basis of the person being fit for the job.

“I am confident that we can produce someone from Ogoni but I am not going to make any promise until the process which is managed by the team that we put in place to do it does so and bring back to us then we will take three candidates to the governing council which will take the decision about the project coordinator.”

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