By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The Presidency yesterday presented a long list of areas that the Muhammadu Buhari government has touched in the Niger Delta region.
It showed how the government elevated the region and the progress made in cleaning up Ogoni.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President of Media and Advertising, Laolu Akande, said the government's New Vision for the Niger Delta region has advanced in several areas of the region's development program.
Among them, the reorganization of the Development Commission of the Niger Delta (NDDC), the development of eastern ports and other areas.
The Presidency said that the progress report for the New Vision of the Niger Delta clearly indicated that “since the Ogoni cleanup began in January 2019, with 16 contractors moving to the site, 21 sites have so far been delivered to Project contractors. Restoration of Pollution by Hydrocarbons (HYPREP), under the Federal Ministry of the Environment ”.
He added: “This is beyond the start of the Maritime University in Delta State, now in full swing with more than 1,000 students spread across 13 undergraduate courses at three colleges and the progress made in establishing modular refineries, including the Resource Refinery Niger Delta (NDPR), which went from 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6,000 bpd a few weeks ago.
“There are currently six modular refineries at different stages of completion in the six states of the Niger Delta: Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Imo.”
Providing details about Ogoni's cleanup, the statement said: "The 21 sites where remediation work is underway are located in four areas of the local government in Ogoni, namely: Eleme, Tai, Khana and Gokana".
The Presidency said the Buhari government has received local and international praise for the cleansing of Ogoni.
The 2011 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report on the lands of Ogoni, devastated by decades of oil spills, was not implemented until June 2016, when the Buhari government started implementing it.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo kicked off cleaning in the region.
The Presidency said: “The Buhari government's commitment to cleaning Ogoni has received various local and international support with visits to the sites by the Dutch ambassador, British deputy high commissioner, US ambassador, German ambassador, Norwegian ambassador, UNEP staff, among others, all attesting to the progress made in cleaning ".
Providing an overview of the progress report, the statement cited many who attested to the good work in cleaning.
“I see that the work is underway and I hope it will produce results soon,” said Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Marion Kappeyne Van de Coppello, in August 2019, when she visited one of the Ebube community sites, the rivers area government sites in Eleme. State.
“In addition, during an inspection visit, UNEP team leader Mike Cowing said that the UNEP team's new involvement in cleaning up Ogoni shows the federal government's commitment to effectively implement the UNEP Report.
“We see that very sincere plans are being drawn up. We are part of the planning and we would be part of the implementation, ”said Cowing.
At modular refineries in the region, the Presidency said: “To date, six modular refineries are currently at different stages of completion in the Niger Delta region. Refineries are located in six states of the Niger Delta: Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Bayelsa and Cross River. This includes the Niger Delta Oil Resources Refinery (NDPR) in Ogbele, Rivers State, which was refining at 1,000 bpd and was recently upgraded to 6,000 bpd.
“The Federal Government's Presidential Amnesty Presidential Amnesty Program continues to involve former militants and youth in the Niger Delta region in formal education, the acquisition of professional skills and empowerment schemes, while creating jobs for beneficiaries.
“The Niger Delta region is also benefiting from the Buhari government's efforts to improve the country's infrastructure, including the Bonny-Bodo road and bridge project.
“This is an important road and bridge that crosses the Opobo channel, being undertaken as a collaboration between NLNG and the Federal Government.
“When completed, the 34-kilometer Bonny-Bodo road and bridge project, which was shut down in October 2017, would connect several important communities and boost the region's socioeconomic development.
“There is also the project for the Itakpe-Warri railway line, which is now complete and ready for inauguration. The railway line would handle passenger, commercial and freight services.
“The federal government is also in the process of developing seaports in the region, including Warri and Ibaka, among other development projects, such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones (SPAs) to boost economic activities.
“In the same vein, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is being repositioned for better delivery. It is recalled that, following President Muhammadu Buhari's directive, the NDDC has initiated the audit and verification of projects and contracts in the nine states of the Niger Delta to better serve the people of the region in terms of development, ”said the statement.