President Muhammadu Buhari’s has cancelled his trip to Ogoni land, Rivers State, Nigeria for the flag-off of the Ogoni land clean up. Ogoni land is an area in the Niger Delta which has been badly hit by oil spills, and has recently witnessed a wave of militant attacks.
Although, the reason for the cancellation has not been given, the president will now be represented by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the event.
Badly damaged by oil spillage, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), at the request of the federal government, had conducted an independent assessment of the affected communities and made recommendations for remediation.The report had revealed that there are over 200 oil-impacted locations across Ogoni land and the full environmental restoration of the community will take between 25 and 30 years.
The UNEP report was accepted by many residents of the Ogoni community and government decided to use the report as a starting point in the clean-up process, which the President had been expected to launch the activities for the clean-up of the oil impacted Ogoni land today, Thursday, June 2, 2016.
Had he made the visit, it would have been the first visit of the former military ruler to the Delta since taking office in May last year as he has been accused by critics of ignoring the predominately Christian south.
Prior to the president’s intended visit, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group had sent forth a message warning the president to stay away from the region or be ready for their rage.
“Buhari is trying to visit Ogoniland, but he should sign his death warrant before coming to Port Harcourt or try to visit any state of the Niger Delta community, Biafra land.”
Governor Nyesom Wike had in response to the threat assured President Buhari of his safety as he promised the government would put every measure in place to ensure that the state was safe for the presidential visit to achieve its purpose.