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Ogoni clean-up commences this month – FG

The minister of State for Environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has said the Ogoniland oil spill clean-up will commence this month. He said this in…

The minister of State for Environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has said the Ogoniland oil spill clean-up will commence this month.

He said this in Abuja on Monday when he received a delegation of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), led by its Executive Director, Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, on advocacy visits on the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the cleanup.

“When people are agitating that we are not doing anything since last year when we launched the clean-up in June last year and nothing is happening, my answer has been that we are not in a hurry to fail; whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.

“When we came in on the issue of Ogoni cleanup, there was virtually no structure on ground, but we move that process forward; we did a lot of stakeholder’s consultation and we got a document that is workable.

“We received documents from people which have indicated and as at 2016, we have over 800 companies that are interested unsolicited. This year in March, we advertise locally and internationally, the figure later dropped to about 400 and this 400, we checked carefully and 183 companies have been pre-qualified.

“We did the delineation exercise and the HYPREP (Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project) office is coordinating; the delineation exercise was successfully based on the 64 sites documented by UNEP and the Ministerial tender board would meet to consider those that are qualified for the award of the contract for the real clean-up exercise to begin by the Grace of God this month (November).

“And I can assure you that by the end of this month, you will all see that the qualified companies would be working on the cleanup,” Jibril said.

Earlier, the CISLAC Executive Director, Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said with the support from CORDAID and other stakeholders within the strategic partnership in Nigeria, they are working towards the judicious implementation of the recommendation of the UNEP report.

According to him, specific focus are around the eight emergency measures, which are still lacking behind as communities still drink and bath with contaminated water 900 times above WHO standards with visible sheen all over the places.

“The remediation, restoration and rehabilitation of the environment – which we believe would start in this quarter, should be prioritized on the agenda of the Ministry and that of HYPREP.

“Reducing or ending artisanal refining and oil theft to address the issue of re-pollution when the clean-up begins properly is an issue of serious concern.

“Since 2011 till date, level of pollution has assumed new dynamics, mainstreaming women and youth groups into taking ownership of the process, they are the most vulnerable and the most affected in this situation,” Rafsanjani said.

He however said that the campaign towards the implementation of the UNEP report has recorded some remarkable successes along the way, including the opening of the escrow account and initial deposit of the $177million, in effectiveness, openness and responsiveness of HYPREP to civil society organizations.

He therefore urged that the HYPREP should be backed by legislation rather than a gazette which is more of an executive order to guarantee its independence and be secured from being threatened by an administration that has no interest of the Ogoni people and the cleanup.

“The government and oil companies should as a matter of urgency commence the decommissioning of oil facilities in Ogoni ahead of the clean to prevent re-pollution that might cause a setback to the entire campaign,” he said.

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