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Ogoni Clean-up: 17 polluted sites remedied, says Fed Govt

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

Seventeen sites have been cleaned up and certified, the Federal Government said on Wednesday while appraising the remediation process in oil-polluted sections of Ogoniland.

Environment Minister Mohammed Mahmoud told State House reporters after the week’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that the various other components of the clean-up agreement were being attended to.

According to him, the budget for the administrative body, which is overseeing the clean-up process, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP, was just passed on Tuesday.

Speaking further, Mahmoud said that the government awarded contracts for six water projects in the area, while 400 Ogoni women have sharpened their skills in various small businesses in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry, among others.

He said: “Just yesterday (Tuesday) we passed the budget of the Ogoni Clean-up otherwise known as HYPREP, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project. It has gotten a lot of boost.

“We have a brand new governing council. We have a brand new board of trustees and we are Increasing the participation of union ordinarily they are technical support.

“And now we want to involve them even further by making them like some kind of project management consultant. And also we are looking at bringing in more indigenous people that will be part of this process, what we realise is for any project to succeed, you must have the buy-in of the community.

“And so far, so good, I can tell you that project has moved forward, we have about 17 contaminated sites that have been cleaned up and certified, clean. And then just recently also, we awarded contracts for six water project, this water project should have been awarded earlier from the very beginning of the project.

“But we awarded that about over 6 billion Naira. Again, we’re working towards additional eight water projects that will be coming very soon. In fact, we just get the approval to advertise for that and also to go into the complex side.”

He said that the government was still working on the simple side of the project and that the complex side would be coming soon, adding that it will include remediation of the soil and the groundwater.

“So, the project is moving fast, we are catching up the little time we have lost in the last couple of years, especially because of the COVID also, but so far, so good,” the minister said.

He further explained: “There’s also a component of livelihood. And we have just graduated 400 Ogoni women in various small businesses like agriculture, aquaculture, poultry, and all that.

“And also youths that have been trained, as welders and plumbers, we have just also distributed 5000 need assessment forms for people to indicate their interest what they want to do so that they can be trained, and be given some kind of lovely, which is a major component of the clean-up.”

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