President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and King Godwin N.K. Giniwa, President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers Photo: DailyNigerian

Presidency charges Ogoni leaders, indigenes on protection of national assets

*President Muhammadu Buhari urges Ogoni leaders in South-South Nigeria to sensitise the indigenes on protection of critical national infrastructure, including pipelines and other oil installations, as the Federal Government cleans up the area to stimulate more economic activities

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In curbing further willful damage to their environment and improved development in the area, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Ogoni leaders in South-South Nigeria to sensitise the indigenes on the value of protecting national assets such as pipelines and other oil installations.

ConsumerConnect gathered Buhari told the leaders and people of Ogoniland when he received them Friday, October 22, 2021, during a visit to the State House, Abuja, FCT.

The President also noted that willful damage usually create more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the region of the country.

Oil installations in the Niger Delta region

According to the President, the Federal Government is committed to the cleaning up of Ogoniland, so that indigenes could regain their lives, return to farms, and reactivate economic activities to create wealth and add value to the economy, agency report said.

Buhari stated: “You will need to educate the people of Ogoniland and the region more that when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people.

“The majority of farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea.”

Bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife, said the President.

He also disclosed that the Nigerian Government would resolve all pending issues regarding the people and Ogoniland in the country.

He said: “Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoniland, I note the need to ensure completion of segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoniland, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery under the Infrastructure Development Fund as earlier conceived.

“We intend to complete this vital artery of Nigeria.

“Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoniland.”

Buhari further explained: “The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoniland and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.

“In spite of the grievous circumstances, the federal government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga.”

The President noted that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has been granted licence to operate OML11, which he stated would stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.

He said: “To ensure the stimulation of economic activities in Ogoniland as underpinned by the vast petroleum resources underlying Ogoniland and neighbouring communities, NPDC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, has been granted licence to operate OML11.

“Accordingly, NNPC is hereby directed to engage all host communities, particularly Ogoni people to ensure inclusive processes of oil and gas exploration and production is anchored on optimum involvement of host communities.

“NPDC will lay a broad-based programme for the emergence of a new Ogoniland for the benefit of the Ogoni people and Nigeria as a whole.”

Federal Government committed to more resources to improve Niger Delta

Buhari also stated: “This administration has placed the rehabilitation of the Niger Delta as a top priority, and has committed a lot of resources to tackle existing problems, including launching a billion dollar oil clean-up exercise to reverse the terrible damage and restore the ecosystem.

“I am pleased that the restoration and amelioration activities under the auspices of the United Nations and the vehicle of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project has commenced work since we assumed office as we promised.

“We will take further steps to ensure faithful and speedy execution of the project so as to restore the environment and enable farming and fishing activities to resume in the affected areas.’’

He as well appreciated the leaders for recognition of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts at cleaning up the area and stimulating more economic activities.

“Your Royal Highnesses and very distinguished people of Ogoniland, I thank you very much for your kind words and recognition of efforts made by our administration to bring progress to your part and all parts of the country,’’ the President added.

In his remarks, King Godwin N.K. Giniwa, President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, commended President Buhari for various interventions in the area, particularly on clean-up of the environment.

The people believe in the unity of Nigeria, and the future of every group could only be guaranteed in one nation, said King Giniwa.

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