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Ogoni forum worries about frequent change of environment ministers

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
13 May 2022   |   3:55 am
Ogoni Elders’ Forum, also known as ‘Gbo Kabaari Ogoni’, has decried incessant changes of minister for the Ministry of Environment, calling for expedited actions on key projects in Ogoni, including the cleanu.

Ogoni Elders’ Forum, also known as ‘Gbo Kabaari Ogoni’, has decried incessant changes of minister for the Ministry of Environment, calling for expedited actions on key projects in Ogoni, including the cleanu.

The Guardian recalls that the former minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, who is now the Minister of Agriculture had, in September 2021, handed over the affairs of the ministry to Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, who since 2019 occupied  the position of minister  of state for  environment.  Sharon remained the helmsman of the ministry till April  6, this year when  President  Muhammadu Buhari,  approved  the  appointment  Mohammed Abdullahi  as the  new minister  of  environment.

The Forum, in a letter titled, ‘Commendation, Rejection of Wanton Bureactisation of HYPREP and Appeal for Expedited Implementation of Ogoni Clean-up and Remediation Project’ made available to  newsmen  in Port Harcourt yesterday, observed that Abdullahi  had hit the ground running with commitment to the execution of key projects urgently needed in Ogoni.

The letter signed by the forum’s Chairman, Monday Abueh; Vice Chairman, Mr. John Uebari; General Secretary, Dr. AlubaBari Nbete and Ledum Mitee; among others, noted that the key projects include the provision of sustainable potable water and the connection of the four councils of Ogoni (Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai) to the national grid.

The letter reads: “Honourable Minister, Sir, worried by the adverse impact of incessant change of ministers for the Ministry of Environment, which you now occupy, we received the news of your present appointment with some sense of apprehension, which we candidly expressed in our congratulatory message to you”

“We are sincerely delighted by your unprecedented determination to implement these four key components during the tenure of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We also wish to appeal to your good conscience to, in the same spirit of service, which you have shown, expedite actions on the actual cleanup and remediation activities to contain diseases and avert deaths due to hydrocarbon pollution. We assure you of our cooperation and support to ensure unhindered operations.”

They expressed concern over “worrisome developments and anomalies in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP),” which they claimed they had brought to the minister’s attention. They asked him to intervene.

The forum urged the minister to prevent the appointment of a head of operations for HYPREP, saying it would lead to avoidable operational frictions that would further hamper implementation of projects.