The Federal government has said that the restoration of Ogoniland will begin in the first quarter of 2015 in line with recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP report.
This was contained in a statement signed by Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC on Tuesday.
Addressing a follow-up meeting of technical working groups on environment restoration of Ogoniland in Geneva, Switzerland, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister for Petroleum Resources said the federal government was ready to begin implementation of the report.
UNEP had about three years ago after an independent assessment of the environment recommended the spending of about $1billion for the clean up of the oil spills that have been ravaging the oil producing community for several years.
“Yes the government feels it is important to start the process in an aggressive manner. We also think that there are some quick-wins that can be started as early as January next year. If we do not get to do this within a very short period, we may not get to do it again,” Alison-Madueke stated.
Assuring that the government is committed to ensuring that the process is kick-started and continue to take practical steps to encourage all the stakeholders to see to the success of the implementation, Alison-Madueke said, “The Federal Government is ready to fulfill its own counterpart funding that will not be part of the regular budgetary provision and that is why an independent body has been set up to manage the fund.”
In order to ensure that the process does not meet with brick walls, the Minister stressed the need to have financial implementing framework that will guide the implementation process.
Alison-Madueke therefore stated that the implantation of the UNEP report is essential because it will contribute to massive creation of jobs for the Niger Delta people and help extend business opportunities to even non-oil producing communities.