By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
A member of the Senate Committee on Environmental,Senator Magnua Abe has allayed the fear over the cleanup process of Ogoni communities of Rivers State, saying the project is on course.
Senator Magnua said this during at the ongoing 11th National Council on Environment Meeting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to him, the Senate is being briefed on the efforts to make the project successful so the project is on course
He pleaded for understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders, with assurance that the national assembly will provide serious oversight to make the project happen.
Acknowledging the concerns of the people of the communities, Magnua said all stakeholders must understand the procedure and bureaucracy involved in getting the work done.
“People should be assured that the clean up is on course and that we will provide serious oversight of it to see that it happens and that we acknowledged the concerns of those who feel it is a bit slow but just to assure them that it is on course and working because we are being briefed on the efforts that are being made.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any mistake of the past because nothing was done actually in the past, if there is any mistake, it is the mistake of the present.
“What I would say is that the expectation of the people, people wanted to see things happening immediately but they have to understand that there are frameworks, procedure and challenges of implementation of programmes of this scale, which has never be done before.
“If you are not patient, you are not thorough, you could easily get overwhelmed by the whole thing because it is a multi layer operation, it is something we have not done before, it is just a new thing we are seeing how best we can make it happen, people have to be patient and give all support they could.
“I don’t think money is the factor at this point because so far, the money that is available has not been fully utilised, I don’t think money is the problem but like I said, challenges in trying to put the whole thing together and we are working on those challenges, we should be a bit patient and support in order to get the best out of the exercise.”He said.
Earlier in his opening address, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman called for involvement of the private sector in the implementation of UNEP report on the cleanup.
The call became necessary, according to Usman, in order to bring all stakeholders on board at executing the project.
The Minister said project is being implemented through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project.
According to him, clean-up of lead contaminated sites in Shikira, Nigeria State and the soon to be launched Green Bonds programme.