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The Federal Government of Nigeria yesterday disclosed that the sum of ₦6,048,318,974.74 has been approved to ensure that the four local governments – Ogoniland, Gokana, Khana, Eleme, and Tai in Rivers State all have access to potable water.
This was made known by the Minister of the Environment, Muhammad Mahmoud, who disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister recalled that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, otherwise known as HYPREP, was commissioned in 2016 to clean Ogoniland, impacted areas based on a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
His words, ‘The mandate of the project is not just cleaning up the contaminated areas by oil pollution, but also to provide drinking water and three to also provide alternative livelihood for the people of that area.
‘This is a project that previous governments have tried to do, but it just turned out to just talk. But President Buhari, in 2015 when he promised, this thing started in 2016, and currently, there will be six water projects that will be provided in this for local governments of Ogoniland and this has just been approved and work will start immediately.
‘They are at different prices and also different completion periods, I think ranging from six months all the way to nine months, depending on the atmosphere. It’s rehabilitation and construction and some of these will link with the River State government’s water system. Asked why the clean–up exercise was delayed, he attributed it to a community dispute’.
Speaking further he said, ‘Yes, we have some delays. And this was evident when we came to assess the project and we went all the way to Geneva, and met with UNEP and that’s the agency United Nations Environment Programme that designed the project, conducted the studies, and make the recommendations.
‘When we came back I went and explained to Mr. President that according to their record, we were behind by just one year. And we sought approval to make some changes, and he graciously approved. And we have made those changes. And between then, and now 15 sites have been cleaned up and certified, clean’.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK