Buhari begins moves to clean Ogoni, names board, governing council

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 13-member Governing Council and 10-member Board of Trustees (BOT), for the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, announced this in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Bukar Hassan, in Abuja on Saturday.

The minister said the structures would ensure inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and sustainability of the exercise.

Mohammed acknowledged the concerns raised by stakeholders on the perceived slow pace of the clean-up, saying “Nigerians have a right to voice their concerns,” but called for patience.

“We have responsibility to deliver. The launch was the first step in a 30-year journey. We will continue to make strides toward the implementation.

“We ask for patience as we lay solid foundations for the clean-up. The context is complex and stakeholders are diverse. All must be taken along”, Mohammed said.

According to her, Buhari remained steadfast in his conviction to see Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta cleaned up.

She said the ministry was working with the Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta, NDDC and key stakeholders in implementing the UNEP report.

The minister said the exercise was a collective responsibility and urged all the Niger Delta communities, especially the Ogonis, to support the remediation and restoration efforts of government.

The UN report estimated that the cleanup of Ogoniland could take up to 30 years with the initial remediation taking five years and the restoration another 25 years.

President Buhari inaugurated the clean up on June 2 at Bodo in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers.