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Buhari committed to Ogoni clean-up, says minister

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Muhammadu Buhari

Minister of State for Environment, Usman Jibrin Ibrahim, has disclosed President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the Ogoni cleanup.

He spoke yesterday in Abuja at the Nnimmo Bassey National colloquium to mark his 60th birthday.

Ibrahim said the Federal Government was not playing politics with the August date, which it promised to begin the remediation work for the cleanup.

He explained that no fewer than 400 contractors had indicated interest in the exercise.

The minister disclosed that 140 of the firms had also been deemed to be pre-qualified, after the ministry developed its framework.

He added that the government had also advertised for bids from interested participants.

He stressed that 14 of the 26 sites have been delineated, even as procurement and costing was being done to commence the project.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had inaugurated the project two years ago.

Country Director of the project, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, who spoke on “Environmental conflicts and the quest for national identity, blamed degradation for the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.

According to him, it was also responsible for the recurring conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region.

He said rather than exploring avenues of tackling the environmental issues involved, Nigerians are reading ethnic and regional perspectives into it.

He canvassed rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones in the country.

He said it was necessary for a strong leadership with the capacity to provide security and welfare for the citizenry.

Bassey, who is an environmentalist, humanist and cleric, expressed gratitude to those who felicitated with him to mark the day.

He paid glowing tributes to the late Oronto Douglas and environmental activities and writer, Ken Saro Wiwa, who, he said, were sources of inspiration to him over the years.


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