The funds meant for the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report, would not be tempered with as the project is paramount, the Federal government has assured the indigenes of Ogoniland in Rivers State.
Ibrahim Usman Jubril, the Minister of State for Environment, gave the assurance at the 2nd stakeholders meeting on the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland cleanup project by the Federal Ministry of Environment through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Friday.
The minister, who was represented by the head of department in the ministry, Dr. Ishaku Mohammed, stated that no part of the fund meant for the cleanup of the oil impacted sites in My homeland would be diverted into any other use, noting that Ogoni cleanup exercise will serve as a template for the cleanup of the entire Niger delta region.
“Funding is the area of concern. We have opened EXCO account. We assure that the money for the project are sacrosanct for the project and will not be diverted for other uses.
“The structure of the process is formidable that no single member or individual can withdraw without going through the due process.
“Provide credible feedback as concerns the clean up that is the only way we can appreciate the federal government for having the political will to implement the remediation.” he said.
The member of Board of Trustee (HYPREP), and president of a social cultural organization in Ogoniland, KAGOTE, Dr. Peter Medee, who supported the claims of the minister disclosed that as part of effort to secure the funds meant for the project, a foreign bank account has been open to ensure the safety keeping of the fund.
“The Ogoni Trust Fund has been incorporated. Two Ogonis are trustees in the fund. Ogoni can use the fund without interference from the federal government and it is done in such a way that change in administration will not affect the project.
“No part of the fund for the cleanup is missing. We have received the fund from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) led by Shell. The first part of the money has been received and is now in the Ogoni Trust Fund. An Ogoni son is one of the three signatories to the account.
“We have successfully opened an account with Standard Chartered Bank of London. We are now sure that the fund is secured. The structures for the cleanup are serious,” Medee said.
Leborsi Pyagbara, the President of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP and Member of the Governing Council, while reacting to the claim, stated that Ogoni people want clean environment.
“We asked a question to stop Ogoni environment from devastation. It is only our collective will collective support that will make the project a success. For us, we I’ll continue to raise alarm.
“I got news that all the funding for this year for the project have been provide. It is left for us to see house we can put things in place to see that the cleanup is carried out.” he said.
The Nation reports that Prof. Ben Nannen, a member of the governing council for the exercise, said that peace is paramount to the desired success in the project, but noted that this could only be achieved when the livelihood aspect of the Report is implemented with people economically empowered to be able to fend for themselves while the exercise lasts.
“I appeal for peace in Ogoni. Now that the project is on we need peace so we can achieve the process.
“We also need livelihood. It is as much important to us as the cleanup itself. We must find a way of putting food on the table of Ogonis.
“What is there should be leveraged with donor agencies support to give a robust livelihood to the people.” he said.