Senate committee to monitor Ogoni cleanup
Chairman of the Ecological Committee in the Senate, Hassan Muhammed Gusau, at the weekend said that the committee would soon go on an oversight visit to monitor the level of clean-up exercise and to ensure that the contractors handling the job are genuine and are really working.
Gusau, who spoke with team of environmental rights group who paid him a courtesy visit to call for strict monitoring of the clean-up and push for the reading of a bill on the establishment of renewable energy council of Nigeria, which was put forward by the Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said the committee would ensure monies spent on the clean-up are used judiciously.
He said: “The Senate has asked a lot of questions during the last budget defence regarding the clean-up in Ogoniland because a lot of contracts were awarded and we have not seen any efficiency in that regard.
“We in the Senate are here to make sure the job is done. We are to see that the people are satisfied. So, a tour to inspect the clean-up is very important and I will discuss this with the committee members.”Leader of the delegation and Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Godwin Uyi Ojo, said that many of the contractors engaged for the clean-up exercise lacked the qualification to do so.
He, therefore, urged the involvement of civil society groups in the monitoring of the exercise.He also said a renewable energy bill was very important as Nigeria makes effort to move from over-dependence on fossil fuel energy to renewable energy.
Ojo, who pleaded with the Senate to make special consideration in the area of tax reduction and moratorium to the sector to stabilise it and further generate income, said: “We are here to plead with the Senate to look into the renewable energy council bill and ensure its passage. We also propose to the Senate, through your committee, to have a tour of the Niger Delta and this is critically related to the clean-up of the Ogoni. We are also saying that the new tax increase should not be extended to the renewable energy sector because it is still struggling.”
Gasau, who spoke earlier on the reduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on renewable energy products, promised to take up the issue with the Senate leadership as issues on the VAT increase are still being discussed in the upper chamber.
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