The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the accelerated directive given on the Ogoniland cleanup exercise.
The Acting Executive Director of the centre, Mr. Monday Osasah, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the Federal Government deserved commendation for the efforts it has made so far in addressing the environmental challenges in the Niger Delta including the cleanup of the region.
“There is no doubting the fact that the handing over of sites to contractors is bearing fruit with the eventual commencement of the remediation work. This is a testament of the government resolve to cleaning the Ogoni land, in addition to the many more promises in the Independence Day speech of the President.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari in his independence day broadcast of October 1, 2019, emphasized and reinforced the commitment of the Federal Government to the cleanup process when he said ‘We equally remain resolute in our effort to combat militant attacks on our oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta and accelerate the Ogoni clean-up to address the long-standing environmental challenges in that region’.
Osasah said that while the rationale behind this pronouncement is laudable, the government should make good this commitment by ensuring timely operationalization of it by deliberately throwing its weight behind the different government bodies linked with the cleanup and ensure seamless implementation of the processes so as to make the Niger Delta region and particularly Ogoni land have a new lease of life.
“We also call on other stakeholders involved in the clean up to also support government resolve to the clean up by discharging their respective responsibilities creditably. This support by the relevant stakeholders has become important in the light of the recent development in the oil and gas sector, where oil is said to have been discovered in some other parts of the country.
“We fear that the development might increase the scope of work of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) and further caused its polarization, that ultimately could cause a lull in the cleanup of Ogoni land and the Niger Delta. Stakeholders we think, should leverage on the commitment made by the President in his independence Day speech and commit in a more nuanced way to playing their role in the cleanup process,” Osasah said.
He however urged communities in Ogoniland to re-commit to collaborating with HYPREP, maintain peace, tone down their expectations and pave way for access to polluted sites that require urgent attention of HYPREP and its contractors to carry out their duties as expected.