President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the clean-up of Ogoni community in Rivers State will take 20 years.
The President stated this on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja when he inaugurated the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) set up to implement the United Nations Environmental Report (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland.
The event comes exactly five years after the UNEP assessment report was released.
The Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Ibrahim, is Chairman of the Governing Council while Mr Wale Edun is the Chairman of the BoT of the Trust Fund.
In his remarks on the occasion, President Buhari said the project, which will span two decades, was huge and needed extensive planning, scientific analysis and community involvement, hence his appeal for patience and understanding from Nigerians and those affected directly.
He said, “It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the project remains on course, as we face the challenges of high expectations and the current conflict in the Niger Delta.
The clean-up exercise is expected to go on for two decades. The first five years will address emergency response measures and remediation while the subsequent years will look to restore the ecosystems in the Delta.
“The governance framework we lay today, following extensive consultations, will form the bed-rock for sustainability for years to come.”
The President also disclosed that the expertise and technology exist to make the clean-up a reality and, therefore, charged the handlers to make it serve as the ‘gold standard’ for the clean-up of similar pollutions in other parts of the region and the rest of the world.