Environment Minister, Stakeholders Meet on Ogoniland Clean-Up
The Minister of Environment, Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar at the Joint Meeting of the Government Council (GC) and Board of Trustee’s of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in his remark after assuming the chairmanship position of the Governing Councilof HYPREP promise to ensure a comprehensive clean-up of Ogoniland.
HYPREP is the project coordinating outfit established by the federal government under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Environment to carry out a comprehensive remediation of the polluted areas of Ogoniland in line with the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.
The Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), Osagie Okunbor who was the Acting Chairman of HYPREP while handing over the mantle of leadership to the Minister stated that he stepped into the chairmanship position to avoid administrative gap in the remediation project, after the dissolution of the previous federal executive council
The Minister in his inaugural statement reaffirmed his commitment to work in synergy with his counterpart Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Timipriye Silva and that of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio who are both on the Governing Council, including other stakeholders to fast-track the remediation process of Ogoni land.
The Minister stated that President Muhammad Buhari is very passionate about the Ogoniland cleanup, “and from the brief I got, I want to assure you all that we will get maximum support from Mr President to fast track the remediation exercise”.
Mahmoud reiterated that as an environmentalist himself, hehas always been passionate about the Ogoni clean up and has kept pace with the remediation process even before he was appointed a minister to oversee the sector.
The Minister stressed that, ‘’the clean-up is about livelihood and thus a comprehensive work need to be done to ensure healthy living of the people of Ogoni land. This administration will do everything possible to restore livelihood in the affected areas so as to give the people new lease of life”.
After taking a comprehensive view of the enormous challenges affecting the Ogoni people in the polluted environment, the Minister noted that the immediate challengewas to find a permanent sources of clean and portable waterfor the people, because, according to him water is the essential father in human survival and existence. ‘’one can go on hunger strike but not possible to go on water strike”.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio in his remark stated that it is under President Buhari that the Ogoni people are having a new lease of life after over a decade of UNEP report. Akpabio reiterated that the project was launch by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo in 2016 and action started in 2017, he said his ministry is committed to work with ministry of Environment to deliver high quality remediation exercise and bring the hydrocarbon pollution to the barestminimum.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Marvin Marvin Dekilsaid the meeting of today is to build on the previous success recorded from the field to scientific exercise, buy in from town hall meetings, collaborations with the River State Government and the Ogoni people. Speaking further, Marvin said efforts are in place to ensure a proper remediation process and that they have the capacity to do it if the challenges of procurement process can be improved as it will help to provide portable drinking water on a sustainable level.
Saghir el Mohammed