President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Board Of Trustees, BOT, and members of the Governing Council for the clean-up of Ogoni land, while restating his administration’s commitment towards the exercise.
The Inauguration ceremony held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
The federal government had in June 2, launched the clean-up of Ogoniland with a promise to expedite action on it, but criticisms have trailed the delay in kick-starting the project, weeks after the exercise was launched.
The 13-member BOT will be chaired by Wale Edun, and has Ibrahim Jibril, Minister of State for Environment; Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance and Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources as members.
Others include, Peter Medee and Bebe Okpabi, representatives of Ogoni stakeholders; Osagie Ogunbor of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC; Insula Massimo of AGIP and Nicholas Terraz of Total.
Mike Emuh is representing other Niger Delta Communities while Nnimmo Bassey is from HOMEF, a Non-Governmental Organization.
A UNEP Observer is expected to be part of the board while a legal adviser, who will also act as the board’s secretary will be appointed by the governing council.
The Governing Council is headed by the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed. Other members include Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Budget and National planning, Udoma Udo-Udoma; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, and National Security adviser, NSA, Babagana Monguno.
Others are Nsima Ekere, Managing Director (designate) Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC; Osagie Okunbor, SPDC; Anyakwe Nsirimowu representing IHRHL, an NGO; and Roselyn Kanya, a Rivers State Commissioner.
The council members also include, Pyagbara Legborsi, Ben Naneen, Kammy Ngelala, Batam Ndegwe, Timi Agari, Pamela Esiri, Israel Kayode, Emem Okon and a UNEP observer.
According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, it will take between 25 to 30 years to restore the oil-polluted environment to a clean state.
President Buhari, during a visit to the United Nations office in Nairobi, Kenya, had urged the United Nations to give more support for his administration’s efforts to clean up the region.
“When I came into office on May 29, 2015, one of the first tasks I carried out was to authorise the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) for the clean-up of Ogoniland.
“The devastation caused by oil spillage has destroyed many lives and livelihoods and is clearly one of the reasons why many people in that region lost faith in government and resorted to the many criminal activities we are seeing in the region today.
“The action our government took to implement UNEP’s recommendations has given the indigenes of the region hope that there are better days ahead.
“Let me, therefore, express appreciation on behalf of the government of Nigeria to UNEP and other development partners for their cooperation and support on this very delicate matter and also request for their continued support as we implement the recommendations and transform the fortunes of the region,” President Buhari had said.