11 January 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Lawmaker representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Sen. Magnus Abe, has said that he is not satisfied with the slow pace of the cleanup of polluted sites in Ogoniland, as recommended by United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.
Abe speaking during an interaction with journalists in Port Harcourt, maintained that the pace at which the federal government was handling the Ogoni cleanup is very low.
The Senator disclosed that there are challenges in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation project, HYPREP and that he and other Ogoni leaders were working together to see how the challenges can be tackled
He, however, assured that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the Ogoni cleanup, stressing that the slowness of the cleanup exercise was not entirely the fault of All Progressives Congress-led government.
According to him, “I have said and I want to repeat here that I am not satisfied with the pace of work on the Ogoni cleanup exercise.
“If you look through the understanding that we have was that $200million should be spent on the project in a year but that has not been done.
“I came here (to Rivers) with the Senate Committee on Environment and what we found is that less than N500million has been spent in the first year, which is far short of the $200million.
“What we have done when we met as Ogoni leaders was to ask those who are part of the HYPREP structure, because we have two Ogoni sons and daughter at the Board of Trustees, to communicate with the Minister of Environment. Let us find out how much has been spent and how much is released because HYPREP cannot work without money.”
Senator Abe also disclosed that putting the necessary systemic infrastructure in place to drive the process may be responsible for some of the hiccup witnessed in the speed of the cleanup exercise.
“Clearly, there are challenges in what is going on in HYPREP and we are working together with the federal government to ensure that some of these challenges are overcome. So, we are working on acceptable channels to increase the speed of the project.
“So, stop the insinuation that the slowness of the cleanup was APC government fault. I will assure all Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to the cleanup of Ogoniland,” the Senator said.