Port Harcourt — The Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Ishaq Salako, says President Bola Ahmed Tinubu prioritizes the issues concerning environmental sustainability under the Renewed Hope Agenda, hence remained committed to restoring the Ogoni environment through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP.
Salako also said the federal government was fully behind HYPREP on its ongoing mangrove restoration project in the fight against climate change, saying that mangroves were important in the sequestration of greenhouse gases.
The Minister who stated these when he visited HYPREP project sites in Ogoni, explained that the ongoing construction of the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration, was the biggest project being carried out by the Federal Ministry of Environment.
He further disclosed that the federal government was planning a lot in terms of how to tackle the challenges of oil pollution, which was common in the Niger Delta as a result of exploration activities.
He said, “The environment has become a very important issue in global discourse these days, because of the realization that unless we sustainably handle the environment, all of us (humans) will not have anywhere else to go.
“So, we are taking the environment very seriously and I can assure you that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has prioritised the issue of the environment; if look at his Renewed Hope Agenda and his eight priorities areas, you will see a very impactful apposition that he has placed on the environment including what HYPREP is doing.”
The Minister who also planted 10 trees at the Birabi Memorial Grammar School in Bori, said he has resolved to personally plant at least 50 trees across the country before the end of 2024.
“The Centre of Excellence is the biggest project which the Ministry of Environment is carrying out today anywhere in Nigeria. It also qualifies as the second biggest project of the federal government in the South-South region of Nigeria, after the East-West Road.
“The Centre of Excellence is significant and it’s going to be a very impactful project in the Niger Delta. I have been taken around the Centre and we hope that by completion in September 2025, the entire global community will come around to celebrate that magnificent edifice.
“I also visited Birabi Memorial Grammar School, where I planted 10 trees. The tree planting is part of my green resolution to personally plant at least 50 trees this year across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. So my visit to Ogoni, Rivers State has allowed me to plant the 10 trees meant for the South-South. I have met with the students who are members of the Green Frontiers Club, and they’ve assured me that they will help nurture the trees.
“Here at one of the remediation sites in Ogale, Eleme I have been taken around and I have seen the work done. Nigeria is planning a lot in terms of how to tackle the challenges of oil pollution which is very common in the Niger Delta as a result of exploration activities here.
“What we’re doing here is also to appreciate the very impactful contribution of oil-producing communities to the economy of Nigeria. So the government of Nigeria has taken it as an important responsibility to ensure that those areas that have contributed so well to the economy of the country are also supported, to ensure there are improved livelihoods, better standard of living and the environment and health of people is protected.”
Earlier, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof Nenibarini Zabbey, took the Minister around some of the projects, including the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration in Bori, as well as a pollution remediation site in Ogale, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.