The Nigerian Government had reiterated its commitments to the completion of the Ogoniland cleanup project for economic development of the region.
The Nigerian government also noted that more than 17 Ogoni cleanup projects in Niger Delta region have been completed by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP.
Nigeria’s Minister of Environment Dr Muhammed Abubakar stated this in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital this during a press briefing on the progress made so far on the Ogoniland cleanup.
“As at today, seventeen Lots have been completed by HYPREP, out of which ten have been closed-out by National Oil Spill Detection Agency NOSDRA.”
“Certification sampling of three Lots for close-out has been completed, while the other three are awaiting certification sampling for close-out by NOSDRA, the remaining five which are yet to be completed by HYPREP are at various stages of completion,” the Minister disclosed.
He noted that 36 remediation contracts comprise of two Project activities, soil remediation works and Tier 2 Assessment of groundwater works were awarded in February 2020, due to the global corona virus pandemic in the first and second quarters of 2020, activities preceding mobilization of these contractors to sites were slowed down.
Dr. Abubakar explained that the cleanup and other projects in the region will also provide employment opportunities for the people thereby curbing the menace of youth’s restiveness in the area.
According to the Minister, “employment and job creation as part of the employment creation drive of HYPREP, eight hundred and eighty-two community youths have been engaged by Batch 1 remediation contractors, while additional one thousand one hundred and eighteen, community youths are being engaged by Batch 2 remediation contractors.”
“Therefore, as at today, a total of two thousand temporal jobs were created in the course of remediation across the four LGAs of Ogoniland besides the numerous indirect jobs that are to be created in the form of trading and support activities.”
On Mangrove restoration, the Minister said the government strategy for restoration and management of degraded mangrove vegetation involves planning, decision making and implementation of the restoration program based on shoreline assessment technique, SCAT outcome.
He said this will provide information and data on the extent and depth of contamination along with guidance on the most suitable technique for clean-up of the impacted shoreline to ensure that environment harm is minimised.
The Minister explained that the proposed size for the SCAT is 1,000 hectares along the shorelines of creeks and rivers and is categorized into three Phases:
Phase 1: To cover 300 hectares upstream,
Phase 2: 300 hectares of mid-stream and
Phase 3: 400 hectares of Down-stream.
Dr. Abubakar said the Ministry through the combined effort of Federal Department of Forestry, and Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria have seen the total number of trees planted to have jumped from a baseline of two hundred and ninety-two thousand, one hundred and forty in 2019 to eighteen million, five hundred trees in 2020 towards fulfillment of President’s Muhammed Buhari’s pledge of planting 25 million tree.
“Though the target could not be achieved because of the effects of Covid 19 Pandemic, we are hopeful of meeting the target in 2021, currently a capacity of planting hundred million trees is being strategies in collaboration with all the relevant implementing agencies of the Ministry,” the Minister explained.
Forest cover restoration
He said the Ministry of Environment also collaborates with the 36 states governors to gazette lands for forestry development which is the first of such accord between the state and the Federal Ministry of Environment.
More than ten states have gazette lands for forestry serve on their states and have been submitted to the Ministry afforestation. The Minister stated.
The National Agency for the Great Green Wall, Programme is equally improving the well-being and reducing vulnerability of the people living in the drylands to climate change through improved use of land and other natural resources for sustainable development. The Minister added.
In 2016, the Nigerian Government flagged off the Ogoniland Clean-up project at Bodo in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, the Government inaugurated the three governing structures of the project namely; the Governing Council, the policy making organ, the Board of Trustees (BoT) receives and manages the funds of the project and the Project Coordination Office which is responsible for the day to day running of the project.