President Muhammadu Buhari says it is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the Ogoni clean-up remains on course despite the current challenges in the Niger Delta.
He spoke at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday while inaugurating the Governing Council and Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for the Implementation of the UNEP Report.
“It is exactly five years today, on the 4th of August 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme submitted an extensive Report on its environmental assessment of Ogoniland. That report, which was commissioned by the Administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not only document the problems that existed, but also contained recommendations on how they can be addressed, both in the short term and in the long term.
“Five years on, the project is yet to properly take off. It would appear to have experienced a series of false starts, while the local communities continue to suffer from the problem, which has existed long before the Report. This all adds to the picture described in the UNEP Report as a landscape characterized by a lack of trust, paralysis and blame,” Buhari said.
The president said he was pleased to note that while it had been five years since the UNEP Report, it had taken only two months since his administration flagged off the project.
He assured that in addition to the management and administration structure, other systems and controls were being put in place to ensure that the funds devoted for this project are used only for the intended purpose.
He urged the local communities, especially the youth who he said would be the direct beneficiaries of the exercise, to work with his administration in ensuring the security of the projects and persons implementing them.
Chairman of the Governing Council and Minister of Environment Amina Muhammed said the funding structure of the project included $1 billion for the first five years.