Amina Mohammed, minister of environment, has appealed for patience over the perceived slow pace in the implementation of the UNEP report on the cleanup of Ogoniland.
Represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged-off the cleanup exercise at Bodo town in Gokana local government area of Rivers state, on June 2.
Buhari was commended over the development, particularly because the immediate past administration did not act on the report, which was submitted in 2011.
However, there have been complaints from different groups and individuals that not much has been done since the launch.
Addressing such concerns, Mohammed said the president has approved the inauguration of a 13-person governing council and a 10-person board of trustees (BoT) for the project.
She said though the UNEP report has it that the exercise would take up to 30 years, the current administration remains committed to it.
“Nigerians have a right to voice their concerns. We have responsibility to deliver. The launch was the 1st step in a 30-year journey. We continue to make strides towards implementation,” she said in a statement.
“We ask for patience as we lay solid foundations for the cleanup. The context is complex and stakeholders are diverse. All must be taken along.
“His Excellency, President Buhari, remains steadfast in his conviction to see Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta cleaned up.
“My team at federal ministry of environment is actively working collaboratively with ministries of petroleum resources, Niger Delta, NDDC and key stakeholders to see that the promise of His Excellency is kept and we stay clean after the cleanup.”
The minister also reiterated the need to see the cleanup as a collective responsibility, and urged all the Niger Delta communities, especially the Ogonis, to support the “remediation and restoration” efforts of the government.
The clean up operation, which UNEP report said could be the “most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up exercise” aims to restore drinking water, soil, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves.