By; Chuks Malford, Port Harcort.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has warned Niger Delta militants, vandals and oil well thefts that his administration will not tolerate any act of criminality.
President Buhari, represented by the Vice President Professor Yemi Osubanjo, at the flagging off of ‘clean up Ogoni land and other oil impacted communities’ in the Niger Delta region, in Bodo town, Gokana Local Government Area LGA of Rivers state, bemoaned the vandalisation of oil facilities.
He noted that theft of crude oil and blowing up of the Oil facilities, kidnapping of oil companies’ staff had negatively impacted the quantity of gas supply for electricity generation and entire economy of the nation.
Mr President who bemoaned the loss of lives suffered by Ogoniland and Niger Delta region, blamed past governments and oil companies, for inability to address the environmental hazard issues caused by their economic activities.
He warned that government would deal decisively with oil theft and pipeline vandals, and called on the people for co-operation in the clean-up process, assuring full and proper execution.
Noting that government had given approval for a frame work for full implementation and execution, President Buhari also affirmed that the United Nations Environmental Programme will provide time lap and technical details for the programme.
We shall continue to make regular visits and inspection of the projects, till completion, appealing to the youths and region, for protection of the facilities.
“The methodology of the cleanup exercise will ensure job creation for the youths while agriculture will be properly factored in the programme” he explained.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in his speech, observed that Rivers State had suffered much of environmental, health and economic devastation, because of economic activities of the oil firms in the region.
“This programme will present latest approach to issues on environmental management and pollution control. It will also present us a clear road map for the clean up, and it will be systematically and comprehensively executed” he said.
Commending President Buhari for the political will to initiate the programme, he assured the state government will provide relevant platform, for successful implementation.
Disclosing that the cleanup exercise and restoration programme will have direct positive impact on the state and region, he called on all for support.
The Minister for Environment Hajiya Amina Mohammed, noted that the flagging off of the programme was the culmination of struggles of many decades by the Ogonis.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to achieve transparency and thorough work in this exercise” disclosing that she used the past six months making the necessary consultations.
Hajiya Mohammed who assured that the implementation will be solid and absolute, maintained that grassroots will be involved, as it aimed to diversify the economy of the region.
Making his remark, the leader of the UNEP team Mr Achim Steiner expressed joy, as he declared that he never knew a day like that would ever come.
Mr Achim noted that it was former President Olusegun Obasanjo who first invited him to the country for the UNEP report , and commended the nation’ s media for necessary publicity of their report.
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), thanked the federal government for the initiative and promised, on behalf of other partners, to pay their own share of funds, for the cleanup.
Emphasizing commitment of SPDC to the clean-up exercise, he appealed for collaboration of all partners and stakeholders
Others who presented speeches at the occasion were the former governor of Rivers state and current Minister of Transport Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Mr Magnus Abe and President General of Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Legborsi S. Pyagbara, among others.
By; Chuks Malford, Port Harcort.