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Ogoni cleanup

Can N20m for Ogoniland clean-up in 2018 budget amount to working hard by FG?

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Further analysis of the recently presented 2018 Appropriation Act to the National Assembly has suggested that the federal government, like Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike puts it, is not serious with cleaning up of Ogoniland.

This stemmed from the discovery that the Federal Government has budgeted only N20, 226, 000 for Ogoni land clean up support in 2018 appropriation bill, while it earmarked N250 million for attendance of international bilateral/multilateral meetings.

Business Hilights recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had during the 2018 budget presentation said: “We are working hard on the Ogoniland cleanup project, and have engaged eight international and local firms proposing different technologies for the mandate.”

“This would enable us select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work, and have asked each firm to conduct demonstration clean up exercises in four local government areas of Ogoniland.”

“Although, the International Oil Companies will fund the project, we have made provisions in 2018 budget for the costs of oversight and governance, to ensure effective implementation.”Minister of state for Environment, Ibrahim Usmam Jibril, recently, explained that the cleanup of Ogoni land is being delayed due to budget constraints and the ground work before the project would start.

Details of the entire Federal Ministry of Environment budget so presented showed that a total of N27, 369, 935, 852 is allocated to the Ministry, out of this N9, 524,482,833 is for capital projects, while debt owed contractors stood at N11.6 billion.

Already, experts in oil pollution cleanup say, a massive cleanup scheme like that of Ogoniland will need a yearly injection of not less than N1.5bn for it to be realizable.

Several international agencies who had visited the site and even local pressure groups including MOSOP had expressed reservations on the real aim of the federal government in the entire process of cleaning up polluted Ogoniland.

The frustrating scenario had few weeks ago, prompted the State Governor, to query what the federal government is really doing in Ogoniland, saying work on site is not encouraging that the cleanup is in the mind of the government.

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