Port Harcourt — The Federal Government on Monday flagged off the construction of water facilities for the provision of potable water in Ogoniland, as part of the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP.
The six water projects in the first phase are Bori water scheme in Khana LGA; Barako, B-Dere and K-Dere and Terabo water schemes in Gokana LGA; Alesa and Ebubu water schemes in Eleme LGA.
Flagging off the project in Bori, Rivers State, the Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, said eight additional water projects will be inauguration across the four LGAs of Ogoniland.
Abubakar recalled that the Federal Executive Council on 3rd March 2021, approved the award of six water projects for the supply of water in Ogoniland, at the cost of over N6billion.
He announced that President, has warned that nothing should be done short of what the UNEP report recommended, nor short of international standard, but the best should be given to the people of Ogoni land.
“It is my honour and privilege to officially flag off the commencement of construction of these water facilities. You are going to have much bigger tank that is 400 cubic metres of water. That is a lot of water for the people of the community and we are not stopping there.
“The federal executive council on the (3rd of March, 2021) approved the award of six water projects for the supply of water at the cost of over N6billion.
“This is a major milestone, though coming late, but nevertheless commendable as it ignites hope in the people of ogoni in the provision of the long awaited portable water.
“Following these six water projects, also very soon, we will be rolling out additional eight water projects for the people of Ogoni across the four local government areas. We thank you for your patience.
“The implementation of the UNEP report was a promise made by His Excellency, President Muhamadu Buhari during his political campaign. Therefore, when I presented the water supply contract to him on the 3rd of March at the federal executive council, he had no problem approving the contract.”
The Federal Government also announced the rolling out of 5000 needs assessment forms, to be distributed across all the four local governments in Ogoni land.
“This will help to identify appropriate skills for youths, women and men that can be developed to provide alternative livelihood, which is also part of the UNEP report.
“In furtherance to renewal efforts towards improving livelihood, I want to also use this opportunity to kick start the administration of needs assessment funds for additional livelihood programme to capture interest areas of individuals targeted trainings scheme.
“I wish to commend the support of the Rivers State Government for allowing HYPREP to take over the rehabilitation of the existing water supply to the host communities before entering into partnership and agreement for sustainable operation and management of the project.
“As you know, today is World Water Day, on our part, we have chosen to join the world on this special day to flag off the water scheme. The handover of this six contracts today is the first phase of many other programmes to come as I have mentioned earlier.”
Also speaking, the Acting Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof. Philp Shekwolo, admitted that the provision of water should have been the first project, however, he said it was better late than never.
“This is a very special project and we will do everything possible to make it successful.
The Ogoni cleanup project is in the heart of the President, and we will do everything possible to make it a reality.
“The livelihoods training is also ongoing. We need the cooperation of the Ogoni people, the youths, elders and everybody.”