The much talked about Ogoni clean-up which was launched with fanfare by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been described as a ‘photo-trick’ by the House of Representatives member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency of Bayelsa state, Fred Agbedi, who raised an alarm over the supposed clean-up exercise.
Speaking to journalists in Bayelsa State, Agbedi who is the House Committee Chairman on gas resources, disclosed that many weeks after the launch of the Ogoni clean-up exercise performed by Vice President who represented Buhari at the event, the place still remained its neglected past with no activity of any sort. No contractor has been mobilised to site in Ogoniland.
The delay by the Federal Government, Agbedi said, is a clear sign of unseriousness by the government. Hear him:
“The Federal Government said it is embarking on the clean-up of Ogoni land. Up till now, no equipment and personnel have been deployed for the clean-up. It is a mere photo-trick to deceive Ogoni people.”
He further made it known that he will soon sponsor a bill together with some members of the National Assembly, for a referendum on true federalism and resource control as the panacea to the socio-economic challenges of the nation. He added:
“The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi will appear before us and say one of his challenges was that of illegal miners, and that the Federal Government is working out ways to organise those that can be encouraged into co-operatives.
“But when it comes to the Niger Delta region and our people refining our crude, they call it economic sabotage.
“They don’t see anything good in us. But our resources which they feel belong to them, with that posture, there will be no peace.”
Meanwhile, an official at the Ministry of Environment who spoke about the clean-up said described it as a political move.
According to him:
“There is nothing in the 2016 budget for the clean up. As a matter of fact, the Ministry is not working on any document to show the Federal Government has policy in place or beginning a policy to raise money for the project. It is one of the political moves.”
Another official who prefers not to be named, speaking to a correspondent of Today said:
“We don’t know anything about Ogoni clean-up in this Ministry, take your inquiries to another place. Better still, go and meet President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who launched the project. You people like to be deceived.
“Have workers been paid before you asked if government has committed or is ready to commit funds for the project. People mounted pressure on the Federal Government, so it decided to play along; so take it. As far as we are concern in his Ministry, the UNEP desk does not do anything about Ogoni project, it is not in existence.”
President Muhammadu Buhari’s 11th hour cancellation of his trip to Ogoniland with no official reason given, gave room to speculations that the president was scared of the threats by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on his life.
Vice President Osinbajo had represented the President on the set date, leading top government functionaries to flag-off the exercise on Thursday, June 2.