The controversial Ogoni Clean-Up project may take more than ten years to complete, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, said. The clean-up of Ogoniland was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2016.
Ikeazor, who spoke yesterday at her ministry’s 2022 ministerial press briefing in Abuja, said the government is working to hand over to the people a clean environment to live in.
She added that the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is still the consultant in charge of the project.
The minister noted that on the instance of the Federal Government, the UNEP conducted an independent assessment of hydrocarbon pollution in Ogoniland, in 2006.
“Preliminary remediation activities had commenced in early 2018, and work is at various stages of the remediation processes, with successes despite delays encountered,” she said.
Ikeazor added that the project implementation status is between 2019 and 2021 and covers three core areas, which are contaminated soil remediation, sustainable livelihood programme and portable water supply.
She said: “In 2019 contracts for 21 lots were awarded for remediation, these covered 12 of the 65 listed sites in the UNEP report.
“These lots covered an area of 276 acres. To date 18 of these lots have been completed and certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA.) Three of the lots are currently undergoing the certification process and one lot is still undergoing remediation.
“An additional 29 lots were awarded for remediation of 8 sites in February 2020. The area covered is 289 acres. Six of these sites have been completed and certified by NOSDRA while two outstanding sites at Bdere and Ogale are above 60% completion of which we are accelerating
“As of January 2022 bidding for additional 37 hydrocarbon impacted sites is in progress. The total volume of contaminated soil to be remediated is 5,354,766 cubic meters over an area of about 314 acres.”
The minister said the remediation efforts have produced remarkable employment and livelihood opportunities for Ogoni youths.
According to her, “so far, a total of 1,337 persons have been trained, employed, and earned income to support their livelihood, thereby enhancing local economy.
“Both artisanal refiners and other youths are entitled to be given the opportunity to develop and expand their existing skills or acquire new skill sets to build their capacity and empowerment.”