Ogoniland in Niger Delta Image: GeocurrentsInfo

Nigeria okays N6bn potable water projects for Ogoniland

*The Federal Government has approved a sum of N6,048,318,974.74 for provision of potable water for four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland, Gokana, Khana, Eleme and Tai in Rivers State

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the facilitation of the clean-up exercise of a total of 15 oil-polluted sites in the region thus far, the Federal Government has approved a sum of N6,048,318,974.74 for provision of potable water for the four Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Ogoniland, Gokana, Khana, Eleme and Tai in Rivers State.

ConsumerConnect reports the Federal Executive Council (FEC) also revealed that the government has so far facilitated the clean-up of a total of 15 oil-polluted sites in Ogoniland.

Muhammad Mahmoud, Honourable Minister for Environment, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly virtual FEC meeting, which President Muhammadu Buhari presided over Wednesday, March 3, in the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT.

The Minister noted that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, otherwise known as HYPREP, was commissioned in 2016 to clean Ogoniland, impacted areas based on a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

A water project in Nigeria   Photo: TVCNews

Mahmoud explained: “The mandate of the project is not just cleaning up the contaminated areas by oil pollution, but also to provide drinking water and three to also provide alternative livelihood for the people of that area.

“This is a project that previous governments have tried to do, but it just turned out to just talk.

“But President Buhari, in 2015 when he promised, this thing started in 2016 and currently, there will be six water projects that will be provided in this for local governments of Ogoniland and this has just been approved and work will start immediately.

He further stated: “They are at different prices and also different completion periods, I think ranging from six months all the way to nine months, depending on the atmosphere.

“It’s rehabilitation and construction and some of these will link with the River State government’s water system.”

Asked why the clean – up exercise was delayed, he attributed it to a community dispute. He said, “Yes, we have some delays. And this was evident when we came to assess the project and we went all the way to Geneva, and met with UNEP and that’s the agency United Nations Environment Programme that designed the project, conducted the studies and make the recommendations.

“When we came back I went and explained to Mr President that according to their record, we were behind by just one year. And we sought approval to make some changes, and he graciously approved.

“And we have made those changes. And between then, and now 15 sites have been cleaned up and certified, clean.

“So, there was a delay of one year Yes, but then we have progressed. Now I can say that within the last year, we have done up to 15. So, there’s a tremendous amount of progress. And we are trying to push to catch up with the time, still maybe behind by months.

“But this is a project that you want to take time to do and do it well. we are talking about the livelihood of people contaminated soil by hydrocarbons, these are cancer-causing chemicals, or we call them carcinogens.

“So, one to make sure that when we’re trying to speed up, but also have been careful to make sure it’s clean and is clean to the standard of the World Health Organisation and the standard set also by UNEP.

“So, the project is going on and one of the things is this provision of water. Some of the delays even that you are talking about, yes, this is the first time that a project of this size and this magnitude is being undertaken.”

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