TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that the Ogoni clean-up exercise can only succeed when the Federal Government stops playing politics with the programme.
Wike spoke during a courtesy visit by the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He urged the Federal Government to come with the terms for the implementation of the Ogoni clean up exercise as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
The governor noted that since 2016 when the Ogoni clean-up exercise was flagged off, no tangible milestone had been achieved.
He said: “I am not happy that the Rivers State government is not part of the clean- up exercise. Nobody has ever briefed the state government. The programme has been politicised.
“The only way the programme will work is when we all work together. The programme is not working because they see it as politics. They are using unqualified contractors to execute the project,” Wike stated.
The governor said rather than tell the world the level of success attained, the Federal Government continues to circulate same old story of handing over remediation sites to contractors.
“It’s unfortunate that no tangible effort has been achieved. Handing over remediation site to contractors does not mean the work has been done.
“Since 2016 till date, it’s the same story because the people are from this part of the country. It is unfortunate. The Federal Government is supposed to come up and say that they have been able to achieve about 30 percent of the clean-up in Ogoniland.
“What I want to hear is we have achieved about 30 percent, we have achieved about 40 percent of the clean-up. The Federal Government should tell the people if they are not ready to clean up of Ogoniland,” he said.
He regretted that some Ogoni sons were part of the challenges negating the successful clean-up of Ogoniland. He said Ogoni people working with the exercise should tell the world, if they are satisfied with the programme.
“I support the clean-up, but the Rivers State government will not do what it doesn’t know. Also, the lack of clean-up of Ogoniland is caused by Ogoni sons and daughters because of politics. I challenge Ogoni sons to tell the world if they are satisfied with the clean-up exercise in Ogoniland,” he said
Earlier, the Minister of Environment, Abubakar, said they were in the state to handover additional 36 remediation sites to contractors as part of the clean-up exercise.
He lauded the state governor for demonstrating strong commitment to the Ogoni clean-up exercise since the inception of the programme in 2016.
He added that 400 women in the area would also be trained to be part of the clean-up exercise at the Rivers State Songhai Farm.