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President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that on -going cleanup of Ogoniland and other oil-impacted communities in Niger Delta region would last two decades.

Buhari, made the disclosure, while inaugurating Governing Council and Board of Trustees of Trust Fund for Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project for Implementation of UNEP Report on Thursday at Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said “The clean-up exercise is expected to go on for two decades. The first five years will address emergency response measures and remediation while the subsequent years will look to restore the ecosystems in the Delta.

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“The governance framework we lay today, following extensive consultations, will form the bedrock for sustainability for years to come.

“Together we will be able to transform what is today a tragic tale of desolation and destruction to one of restoration and opportunity for the coming generations. The expertise and technology exist to make this a reality.

“In the end, this project will serve as the ‘gold standard’ for the cleanup of similar pollution in other parts of the Niger Delta, and the world at large.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Action /Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in a organised a one-day advocacy meeting to mark the fifth-year anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Assessment Report on Ogoniland today, August 4, 2016 recommended among others

Oil pollution

  1. A state of emergency should be declared in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta in view of the mammoth environmental challenges inflicted on the region
  2. The clean up of Ogoniland should commence immediately without further delay. There is need for legal framework and supportive Act for the implementation of the UNEP report. The exercise should include health audit of the people in view of declining life expectancy among the people of the region
  3. We strongly recommend the release of the gazette of the UNEP report implementation to ensure sustainability beyond the present administration since the cleanup will take 30 years to complete from the take-off date of commencement
  4. Shell must be removed from the Governing Council of the UNEP clean up exercise to ensure no conflict of interest in the work of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees
  5. Need for unity among the Ogoni people to ensure the process of cleanup of Ogoniland is not stalled
  6. The cleanup of Ogoniland should be the entry point of the cleanup of the entire  Niger Delta.
  7. Adequate awareness creation on the cleanup process to address the concerns of the Ogoni and the generality of Nigerians interested in ensuring the current processes work.
  8. Adequate civil society representation in the Governing Council and BOT of the implementing committee
  9. An independent monitoring system be set up with representatives of the Ogoni and civil society playing prominent and active roles
  10. Nigerian government should wean itself of fossil fuels dependency and halt all forms of pollution by the oil industry in the Niger Delta by enforcing the deadline for the cessation of gas flaring and exploring safe renewables.