President Muhammadu Buhari has approved several actions to fast-track the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme Report on Ogoniland.
The actions approved by President Buhari, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, were based on recommendations to him by the Executive Director of UNEP, the UNEP Special Representative for Ogoniland, Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources, and other stakeholders.
The recommendation include the amendment of the Official Gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to reflect a new governance framework comprising a Governing Council, a Board of Trustees and Project Management.
“The President further approved that the HYPREP Governing Council should be composed as follows: Ministry of Petroleum Resources (One representative), Federal Ministry of Environment (One representative), Impacted States (Rivers) – One Representative, Oil Companies and NNPC (Four representatives), Ogoniland ( Two representatives), United Nations System (One representative) and Secretariat – Headed by Project Manager.”
“He also approved the composition of a Board of Trustees for the HYPREP Trust Fund as follows: Federal Government (One representative), NNPC (One representative), International Oil Companies (One representative, Ogoniland (One representative) and United Nations System (One representative),” according to the statement.
Following a meeting held on the directive of President Buhari, the statement said that it was also agreed that a contribution deposit of $10 million will be made by stakeholders within 30 days of the appointment of members of the Board of Trustees for the Trust Fund who will be responsible for collecting and managing funds from contributors and donors.
“A new implementation template has also been evolved at the instance of President Buhari, and the environmental clean-up of Ogoniland will commence in earnest with the President’s inauguration of the HYPREP Governing Council and the Board of Trustees for the Trust Fund,” It added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has commended President Buhari on what it describes as the “several immediate actions” to fast-track the long delayed implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland.
The party said that the action was a confirmation of its earlier position that President Buhari means well for the Niger Delta as a whole and Ogoniland in particular and that it further gives credence to the saying that a good friend is by far better than a bad brother.
“For six years that President Goodluck Jonathan was in the saddle as President of Nigeria with full executive powers, he blatantly ignored the UNEP Report for the cleaning of Ogoniland.
“He carried on as if Ogoniland was not part of the Niger Delta. But today, just 68 days into his administration, President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated that with strong will, love and honesty of purpose, nothing is impossible to achieve.
“It further goes to show that the modest contribution to the development of the Niger Delta so far had been championed by those outside of the region.
“Such efforts include the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ministry of Niger Delta midwifed by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory.
“Most significantly, the development underscores and justifies the purposeful and visionary leadership of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Magnus Abe, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and all those who staked everything to ensure that our people belong to the main stream of Nigerian politics of the present era.
The Rivers APC said that it is convinced that history will “generously accord pride of place to President Muhammadu Buhari and our courageous and visionary leaders whose audacious decision to lead us into the APC has now brought succour to Ogoniland, just as it will bring to the entire Niger Delta.
“We most profoundly thank Mr. President for this invaluable and inestimable gesture”.