Buhari approves governing council, board for Ogoniland cleanup

Following the historic presidential launch of the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) report earlier in June in Bodo, Rivers State, President Muhammad Buhari has approved the composition of the governing council and board of trustees, which are the key elements of the governance structure required for the cleanup of Ogoniland.

This is in line with the president’s promise to implement the UNEP Report.

The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, said in a statement that President Buhari has approved the inauguration of a 13-person Governing Council and a 10-person Board of Trustees (BOT). This governance structure ensures inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and sustainability of the cleanup exercise.

Addressing the concerns raised by Nigerians about the perceived slow pace of work, the minister said, “Nigerians have a right to voice their concerns. We have a responsibility to deliver. The launch was the first step in a 30-year journey and we continue to make strides toward implementation.

“We ask for patience as we lay the solid foundations for the cleanup. The context is complex and stakeholders are diverse. All must be taken along. His Excellency, President Buhari remains steadfast in his conviction to see Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta cleaned up. My team at the Federal Ministry of Environment is actively working collaboratively with Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other key stakeholders to see that the promise of His Excellency is kept and we stay clean after the cleanup,” the minister said in a statement.

The minister also reiterated the need to see the cleanup as a collective responsibility and urged all the Niger Delta communities especially the Ogonis to support the remediation and restoration efforts of the government.

The cleanup operation, which the UNEP report said could be the “most wide-ranging and long term oil cleanup exercise,” aims to restore drinking water, soil, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves. The United Nations report estimated that the cleanup of Ogoniland could take up to 30 years where the initial remediation will take five years and the restoration another 25 years.