A few Civil Society Organizations and some people in Rivers State have come under fire from the environment minister, Mohammed Abdullahi, for putting off the cleanup of Ogoni by filing needless lawsuits. After the Federal Executive Council, or FEC, meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abdullahi responded to questions from State House reporters by making this statement. The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, which was tasked with implementing the problematic Ogoni Cleanup in Rivers, was accused by the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, of a slow work pace and embezzlement. The minister was responding to these allegations.
According to him, the Federal Government is equally concerned about MOSOP’s complaints that HYPREP is implementing projects at a seemingly slow rate as MOSOP is about its complaints. The federal government is typically not the root cause. Sometimes you’ll find that people and CSOs from Ogoni land will file legal claims to stop HYPREP from carrying out certain processes. As a result, the process as described in PPP has been impeded. Currently, an organization by the name of the Good Conscience has filed a lawsuit to prevent the Federal Government from moving forward with those water projects.
They are looking into investigating any allegations against the ministry.
In response to HYPREP’s alleged theft, the minister claimed To the best of his knowledge, certain charges are occasionally not very truthful. They are typically driven by very nefarious intentions to divert attention from HYPREP. They are willing to investigate any allegations made against any of our ministry partners, though. Therefore, the President will never treat such accusations lightly and we will be able to deal with them effectively if there is concrete evidence that demonstrate that there have been embezzlements.
The Ogoni Trust Money, which is in charge of overseeing a dedicated fund, has effectively been pooled together by the IOCs to pay for remediation work in accordance with the polluter-pays concept. There is an accessible designated fund. Recently, the president gave his approval to what are known as the “Crash Calls,” which will finance these projects in accordance with the budget that the HYPREP Governing Council has approved. The minister also disclosed that N123.4 billion had been granted by the Federal Executive Council for the restoration and implementation of a power project in Ogoniland, Rivers.
Two memos were presented with remediation and the project.
He stated He provided two memos on behalf of the Ministry of Environment about cleanup and the Ogoniland power project. These two initiatives genuinely support the goals of the Nigerian government and the UNEP, which include helping the Ogoni people, particularly in the livelihood and remediation fields. The first letter outlines a 24-month timeline for 35 separate contractors to complete the restoration of simple hydro-carbon-impacted sites in Ogoniland.
The building of 132 KV 16 km of transmission lines and 260 MVA Power Substations in phase I of the Ogoni Power Project is discussed in the second memo, which also has an impact on the Ogoni people’s standard of living. According to him, the council granted over N28b for the project, which has a 12-month completion window. Mu’azu Sambo, the minister of transportation, blamed litigation for delaying the project when he discussed the dredging of the Calabar waterway. However, he disclosed that Buhari had ordered his ministry and the Justice Department to ensure that the problems were settled peacefully.
Inability of the FG to secure loans affects the completion of the project.
Sambo claimed that the federal government’s failure to obtain foreign funding was impeding the construction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Rail Line project. He claims that because the Buhari administration was unable to raise the 85% of the necessary funding as had been pledged, finishing the rail project during its tenure was no longer possible. The contractor in charge of the project, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCEC, had frequently complained of constant attacks on its personnel in the Abia axis of the rail corridor, Mr. Sambo had said in September while inspecting the work that had been completed. He had said that because of insecurity and persistent vandalism, the government was forced to halt the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Rail Line project.