Buhari initiates process for cleanup of Ogoniland

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved several actions to fast-track the long-delayed implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland in Rivers state.
The cleanup ‎of the oil rich area has been the major demand of the late Ken Saro Wiwa, who was killed by the Abacha government in 1995.
Until his death, Wiwa drew international attention to the devastation caused by oil spill in Ogoniland.
A few years later, his campaigns, outcry of the Niger Delta people,  as well as international pressure made the Nigerian government commission UNEP in 2007 to work out modalities for sanitising the area.
UNEP released its report in August 2011, but immediate past government did little to implement‎ it.

“The actions approved by President Buhari, based on recommendations to him by the executive director of UNEP, the UNEP special representative for Ogoniland, permanent secretaries of the federal ministries of environment and petroleum resources, and other stakeholders, include the amendment of the official gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to reflect a new governance framework comprising a governing council, a board of trustees and project management,” Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said in a statement.

“The president further approved that the HYPREP Governing Council should be composed as follows: Ministry of petroleum resources – one representative; federal ministry of environment – one representative; Impacted States (Rivers) – one representative; Oil Companies & NNPC – 4 representatives; Ogoniland – 2 representatives; United Nations System – one representative; Secretariat – headed by project manager.

“He also approved the composition of a board of trustees for the HYPREP Trust Fund as follows: Federal government – one representative; NNPC – one representative; international oil companies – one representative; Ogoniland – one representative; United Nations System – one representative.

“Following a meeting held on the directive of President Buhari, it was also agreed that a contribution deposit of 10 million United States dollars will be made by stakeholders within 30 days of the appointment of members of the board of trustees for the trust fund who will be responsible for collecting and managing funds from contributors and donors.

“A new implementation template has also been evolved at the instance of President Buhari, and the environmental clean-up of Ogoniland will commence in earnest with the president’s inauguration of the HYPREP Governing Council and the board of trustees for the trust fund‎.”