#NDNewVision: “Ogoni clean-up funds will not be diverted, FG assures stakeholders

The Federal Government has assured indigenes of Ogoniland in Rivers State that the funds meant for the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, is sacrosanct to the project.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jubril, gave the assurance at the 2nd stakeholders’ meeting on the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland clean-up project by the Federal Ministry of Environment through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, on Friday, according to The Nation.

Jubril, who was represented at the event by a head of department in the ministry, Dr. Ishaku Mohammed, insisted that no part of the fund meant for the clean-up of the area would be diverted to any other use, noting that the Ogoni clean-up exercise will serve as a template for the clean-up of the entire Niger Delta region.

He said: “Funding is the area of concern and we have opened an escrow account. We assure that the money for the project is sacrosanct for the project and will not be diverted to other uses. The structure of the process is formidable that no single member or individual can withdraw without going through the due process. We will provide credible feedback as it concerns the clean-up. That is the only way we can appreciate the federal government for having the political will to implement the remediation.”

Corroborating the minister’s remark, the President of KAGOTE, a social cultural organization in Ogoniland, who is also a member of Board of Trustee (HYPREP), Dr. Peter Medee, disclosed that the board has successfully opened an account with a foreign bank, adding that the success would guarantee security of funds for the project.

Medee said, “The Ogoni Trust Fund has been incorporated. Two Ogonis are trustees in the funds. Ogoni can use the fund without interference from the federal government and it is done in such a way that change in administration will not affect the project.

“No part of the funds for the clean-up is missing. We have received the funds from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) led by Shell. The first part of the money has been received and is now in the Ogoni Trust Fund. An Ogoni son is one of the three signatories to the account. We have successfully opened an account with Standard Chartered Bank of London. We are now sure that the fund is secured. The structures for the clean-up are serious.”

Also, the President of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP and member of the Governing Council, Leborsi Pyagbara, stated that Ogoni people want clean environment.

He said: “We asked a question to stop Ogoni environment from devastation. It is only our collective will and support that will make the project a success. For us, we I’ll continue to raise the alarm. I got news that all the funding for this year for the project has been provided. It is left for us to see how we can put things in place to see that the clean-up is carried out.”