President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in Ogoniland.
The inauguration of the council and BoT is ensure total implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.
Speaking during a brief ceremony at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the president noted that the project, which will take two decades to implement, was commencing five years after the UNEP report was submitted.
The next five years, he said, will address emergency response measures and remediation, while the subsequent years will aim to restore the ecosystems in the Niger Delta.
Buhari, therefore, charged the communities to ensure security for the project and prevent recontamination of Ogoniland when completed.
He said: “Today marks another milestone in the commitment that this administration has made in ensuring the implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoniland and other impacted sites.
“This is a very important endeavour that has direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of our brothers and sisters whose environments have been severely degraded by years of unchecked pollution from oil exploration activities.
“It is exactly five years today, on the 4th of August 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) submitted an extensive Report on its environmental assessment of Ogoniland. That report, which was commissioned by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not only document the problems that existed, but also contained recommendations on how they can be addressed, both in the short term and in the long term.
“Five years on, the project is yet to properly take off. It would appear to have experienced a series of false starts, while the local communities continue to suffer from the problem, which has existed long before the Report. This all adds to the picture described in the UNEP Report as ‘a landscape characterized by a lack of trust, paralysis and blame’”.
Thanking the Council and BoT for accepting to serve on the Project, the president said since the flag-off of the project two months ago, considerable effort had been expended to create a robust mechanism for implementing the project in the long term.
According to him, the Governing Council and BoT jointly form an essential part of the governance framework.
“The governance framework we lay today, following extensive consultations, will form the bedrock for sustainability for years to come”, President Buhari added.
National Broadcast: PDP Slams Buhari Over ‘Disappointing, Empty’ Speech – PDP
Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
PDP Asks Buhari To Stop Killing Of #EndSARS Protesters Across Nigeria
This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
#EndSARS: Gov Bello Warns Protesters Against Overthrowing Buhari
He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
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