The Federal Government has said it would train 1,200 Ogoni women to partake in the Ogoniland clean-up. The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed said this on Thursday during the launch of an integrated soil management centre in Port Harcourt.
Urging Niger Deltans to stay away from activities that will further pollute their environment, Amina Mohammed, stated that women have made a lot of sacrifices and carried a lot of burdens that had contributed to the decision to clean up Ogoniland.
“There are many people who have benefited from the injustice and misery in Ogoniland and we will not allow them to do that again. This project is a collective effort; we must ensure that we succeed. We are not here to be sharing money but to invest money.
“What are we going to give you after the clean-up, it is to provide job for you. That is the reason we want to keep this place clean. President (Muhammadu) Buhari has talked about the diversification, but the way we are polluting the environment here, there is no diversification for Niger Delta.
“There would be no diversification of the economy of Niger Delta if we continue to pollute the environment; we are pleading, let today be a new era in the Niger Delta. We must stay clean after the clean-up,” she said.
Mohammed stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is fully committed to the development of Niger Delta, adding that the Ogoni clean-up was one of his campaign promises.
“The development of Ogoniland is the priority of this administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is one of his campaign promises. This is the recognition of the fight, struggle, and injustice to Ogoni people.
“What we want to do is to start something that in the next five years, people will attest to government effort. In the next 20 years, we will restore Ogoniland to where it was years ago,” she said.
Mr President had during his campaign said cleaning up Ogoniland was one of the first tasks he would do once he assumed office in May 2015.
“When I came into office on 29th May 2015, one of the first tasks I carried out is to authorize the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) for the clean-up of Ogoniland.”
Shell discovered oil in Ogoniland in 1957 and exploited it until it was forced out due to oil spillage and pollution in 1993.
The devastation caused by the oil spillage has destroyed many lives and livelihoods and is clearly one of the reasons many people in the region lost faith in government and resorted to the many criminal activities we are seeing in the region today.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) In August 2011 released its Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland and made some recommendations to the government, the oil and gas industry and communities to begin a comprehensive cleanup of Ogoniland, restore polluted environments and put an end to all forms of ongoing oil contamination in the region.
The report was commissioned and delivered to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the government’s decision to implement UNEP’s recommendations has given the indigenes of the region hope that there are better days ahead.