The Federal Government on Thursday declared that it has fulfilled its campaign promise with respect to the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers State.
According to the government, President Muhammadu Buhari had during his campaign period promised to commence the clean-up of the Niger Delta, beginning from Ogoniland once sworn into office.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, saluted the courage and doggedness of President Buhari, stressing that he had continuously pursued the programme in order to ensure that it succeeded.
In her speech, which was made available to our correspondent, the minister said, “I think it’s important to look at the back drop. First of all, it was a campaign promise he (Buhari) made before coming into office. We came into office in November (2015) and very quickly attended the climate change conference that lasted two weeks.
“So at the end of that conference, coming back in December, one of the first things we did was come straight to Ogoniland to see what this is about, because it was one of Mr. President’s campaign promises.”
Mohamed stated that there had been a lot of mistrust on the Ogoni clean-up matter, as promises to implement the United Nations Environmental Programme’s report on the area had dragged on for decades.
She, however, expressed satisfaction that the clean-up programme had commenced and the present government had fulfilled its promise in that area.
“I think we have gone as fast as we could and with this flag off ceremony we have started delivering on our promises,” she said.
But the minister also stated that the $1bn set aside for the clean-up exercise would not be enough for the programme, which experts had said would last several years before it can be completed.
She said, “We hope we will have funds managers take care of this money because $1bn is not going to be enough. When we get the $1bn we need to start the job, but we also need to use that to leverage on the funding from the budget, from other donor agencies and from other opportunities around the world.”