The Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Ogoni Trust Fund, Michael Nwielaghi has said the N95 billion remediation programme approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for Ogoni clean – up as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme Report is ongoing.
Nwielaghi, while commending President Buhari for approving another N25 billion for power projects in the region, noted that livelihood programmes were also going on in Ogoniland.
Speaking during an interview on the sideline of a send – off dinner organised for the Pioneer BoT of Ogoni Trust Fund in Abuja, Nwielaghi said 500 Ogoni youths have been employed to oversee the surveillance of the clean – up processes.
He said: “The clean – up of ogoniland has started, we have been doing work. You know remediation goes underground so when these things take place people don’t know that it is not visible to the eyes. So when people see grasses growing they will not know that that place has been remediated. To that extent you will say nothing is going on.
“We also have some water projects that are ongoing. Some of the projects have been commissioned and they are working. There are 14 water projects that would have taken off since June but because of litigation from folks around the place, the projects have been stalled.
“Recently, the president approved about N25 billion for power projects for Ogoni and it has commenced. Another N95 billion for remediation has been achieved by Mr President. As we speak, livelihood programmes are going on in Ogoniland.
“The Minister of Environment has awarded a surveillance contract for the whole entire process for 500 Ogoni youths. We call on our youths to stop breaking pipelines. We cannot be sinking money into the ground and they will be cutting pipes; they are spoiling the lands.
“The clean – up of Ogoniland is going on but the problem we have is that of litigation that has stalled the process. If not, the whole of Ogoni would have been reticulated; the water projects would have gone to everybody’s home. The six that are going on now are being selected. Fourteen have been in the Bureau of Public Procurement since June last year and we cannot do anything.”
Speaking during an interview, Nwielaghi commended the Pioneer Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Ogoni Trust Fund, Wale Edun for laying a solid foundation for the operational take – off of the Trust Fund.
Nwielaghi said: “Mr Wale Edun was there for four years and he did the operational framework for the Trust Fund. Ogoni people will remain indebted to President Muhammadu Buhari and for Wale Edun and his board who single handedly laid the foundation, God will bless him.
“Ogoni people will continue to pray for Wale Edun because they set up all the processes for this work and so far no money is missing. We inherited a healthy account from him and till today there is nothing that is wrong.”
Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, said the Federal Government remained committed to the clean-up exercise of Ogoniland.
He assured that the government would fulfill its commitment to the people of Ogoni.