Minister: Ogoni Cleanup Starts Two Years After
IPPAM decries inconsistencies in climate policy drive
Two years after the inauguration of the cleanup of Ogoniland in June 2016 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Jibril yesterday revealed that the actual remediation exercise would commence by August ending.
The minister gave the hint in Abuja while addressing a press conference ahead of the World Environment Day (WED) coming up on Tuesday, June 5, with the theme, ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
Giving updates on the cleanup, Jibril said advertising was done in April and more than 400 contractors indicated interest in the remediation exercise.
According to him, “They are doing their analysis which is completed now and preliminary figures are giving us a figure of about 140 that are prequalified. These are the ones that when we finally get the figures we would invite them to submit their financial duty and that process would continue in the whole of June to July; and we hope that by August we should be able to get to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to give approval for whatever remediation contract that would be given.”
Continuing, Jibril noted, “about three weeks ago, the Board of Trustees was able to sign an escrow agreement in presence of the Vice President. All these are geared towards getting the escrow account to be opened and joint partners, the oil companies and the NNPC are now at the last stage of populating their account with the amount that would be used for the cleaning process itself. We are on good track and we expect to do the best we can within the framework of what we are doing now.”
Speaking further, the minister stressed that the theme of this year’s World Environment Day was apt for Nigeria considering the peculiar nature of the country on plastic and polythene disposal, stressing that it constitutes a major environmental concern that the country has been grappling with.
He said the present administration attaches much importance to the development of the environment, and because of that the Vice President would grace this year commemoration of WED, which would be held at the State House.
The minister also revealed that the federal government is presently working on a National Policy on Plastic Waste Management to regulate the use and disposal of plastics in the country.
He explained that the ministry in collaboration with critical stakeholders has developed a national strategy for the phase out of non-biodegradable plastics; while at the same time implementing a National Recycling Programme to establish plastic west recycling plants across the country in partnership with the State governments.
Jibril stated: “At present, a total of eight of such plants have already been completed and handed over to the States of local while 18 others are at various stages of completion. The federal government is also collaborating with States to establish plastic waste recycling plants under Community-Based Waste Management Programme of the ministry. To this end, two plants have been completed in Ilorin, Kwara state, one in Lokoja, Kogi state, while work on another is ongoing in Karu, Nasarawa State. Other locations include Bala Jariin Bombs and Leda Jari in Kano State.”
On the issue of desertification, the minister revealed that there is a planned trip to Iran for eleven States that are at the frontline of desertification.
According to him, “the idea is to go there and see how they have prevented the sand move from encroaching into their land. So, we want to understudy that and be able to replicate it in this country.”
Corroborating the minister’s statement on Ogoni cleanup, the Project Coordinator of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr. Marvin Dekil, stated that the federal government was absolutely committed to the clean-up, saying that the remediation of impacted sites would commence towards the end of August, starting with 26 sites as contained in the UNEP report.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Public Policy Analysis and Management (IPPAM) has warned that if an aggressive climate change policy is not put in place to sustain the socioeconomic development, the country will lose 11 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to climate change by 2020.