BEVERLY HILLS, October 18, (THEWILL) – The lawmaker representing Rivers South East on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Magnus Abe, has assured that the ongoing clean-up process in Ogoni community in Rivers state would not be abandoned.
He disclosed this on Wednesday on the sideline of the ongoing 11th National Council on Environment meeting, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Abe said the project was not being delayed as a result of fund, but for some technical challenges, adding that the Senate was being briefed regularly on efforts to make the project successful.
He, however, pleaded for understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders, assuring the National Assembly will provide proper oversight to make the project a success.
He said, “People should be assured that the Cleanup is on course and that we will provide serious oversight of it to see that it happens and that we acknowledged the concerns of those who feel it is a bit slow but just to assure them that it is on course and working because we are being briefed on the efforts that are being made.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any mistake of the past because nothing was done actually in the past, if there is any mistake, it is the mistake of the present.
“What I would say is that the expectation of the people, people wanted to see things happening immediately but people have to understand that there are frameworks, procedure and challenges of implementation of programmes of this scale, which has never be done before.
“If you are not patient, you are not thorough, you could easily get overwhelmed by the whole thing because it is a multi layer operation, it is something we have not done before, it is just a new thing we are seeing how best we can make it happen, people have to be patient and give all support they could.
“I don’t think money is the factor at this point because so far, the money that is available has not been fully utilised, I don’t think money is the problem but like I said, challenges in trying to put the whole thing together and we are working on those challenges, we should be a bit patient and supportive in order to get the best out of the exercise,” he said.
Earlier in an opening address, the Minister of State of Environment, Ibrahim Usman, called for the involvement of the private sector in the implementation of UNEP report on the clean-up.
He stated that this call became imperative in order to bring all stakeholders on board at executing the project, revealing that the clean-up is being implemented through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project.
The minister stated that the clean-up of lead contaminated sites in Shikira, Niger State and the yet to be launched Green Bonds programme, will soon begin in earnest.