Ibrahim Jibril, minister of environment, says the federal government will commence the clean-up of Ogoniland before the month runs out.
Jibril said this on Wednesday while speaking to journalists after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting.
The minister had earlier said the cleaning exercise would begin in August.
Jibril explained that the structure, process and funding needed to carry out the clean-up had been put in place, adding that there is no going back on the exercise..
He expressed hope that the people of Ogoniland will have reason to smile soon.
“The good news is that the procurement processes have reached the final advance stage. Yesterday the ministerial tender board sat to consider the submission of the procurement department of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP and 15 lots were up for grabs,” he said.
“On Friday, the governing council of the Ogoni Trust Fund will meet and ratify this and we hope by the next week, this letters will be out and the contractors will be mobilised to site.”
“There are some other five lots. Because we are 21 in this first segment that are beyond the reach of the Ministerial Tender Board and the Governing Council. So, that one will go to the federal executive council, we have already written to BPP for no objection and we hope to get the no objection hopefully by next week. So, the next two weeks those five lots will be presented to the federal executive council for approval.
“So I can assure you that we are on course and there is no going back on the Ogoni clean up. This is the first time that the federal government has put a machinery in place, no government in the last 30, 40 years of oil pollution has done what this government is doing now.
“The president made a promise in 2015, he charged us to actualise that promise, we took up the gauntlet, we put all the governance structures in place, we did the governing council, we did the Board of Trustees, we did the project coordination office and got a project coordinator to put in place. We have advertised in the most transparent way right from the month of March both national and international. Some of them the Economist of London and we have gotten more than 400 companies who expressed interest. We shortlisted after the technical evaluation and got 183 and these the companies that were qualified to bid and pick the financials attached therein and they did that, it has been ongoing for couple of weeks now and it has been concluded and therefore I can confidently tell you that before the end of this month, in the next week’s, there will be 21 companies that will be mobilized to site to start the work.
“You must ask whether there is funding, yes, of course there is funding. Again this is the first time the government has done something. Because of the confidence that the oil companies have in the government, because of the governance structures that are put in place, the opening of the Ogoni Trust Fund will be able to mobilize a hundred and eighty million dollars from the oil companies. Right from the NNPC, SPDC and the ventures.
“They have mobilized $180 million. It is in the escrow account with the Standard Chartered Bank of London and the Board of Trustee is managing that. So, as far as we are concerned, we can beat our chest and say that the Buhari administration has shown the way forward on this clean up exercise and we hope and pray that the people whom we are working for will have cause to laugh and smile very soon.”