President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, March 12, 2021 inaugurated a 13-member Governing Council and a 10-member Board of Trustees of the Ogoni Trust Fund on Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
Buhari, while inaugurating the bodies in Abuja, said that the project was for the benefit of the impacted communities in Ogoniland and the nation at large.
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, is the Chairman of the governing council while Mr Michael Nwileaghi is the Chairman of the board of trustees.
Buhari was represented by Mr Boss Mustapher, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He said that the minister had earlier informed him that remediation of polluted land was progressing in various parts of Ogoniland.
The president said that he approved the request to further rejig and restructure HYPREP in order to create an environment for enhanced structure and focused delivery of the project.
According to him, after taking office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in fulfillment of his campaign promise, he flagged-off the project.
He said the project was for the remediation of hydrocarbon impacted sites in Ogoniland, provision of potable water and alternative livelihoods to impacted communities.
Buhari president said the implementation progress of the project launched on June 4, 2016 had been under monitoring over the years.
“Though some milestones and timelines could not be accomplished circumstantially, we are nevertheless determined to recover lost grounds and achieve our goals,” the president said.
He added that the goals would be achieved through deliberate efforts to reinvigorate the processes and machinery of delivery.
“Your appointment therefore, is part of this deliberate effort and I hope that you will live up to expectation accordingly.
“We have carefully and painstakingly considered your backgrounds, profiles and competences in affording you the opportunity to serve in these offices.
“You are therefore, being inaugurated today as representatives of the Federal Government on the platform of HYPREP.
“I strongly appeal to you to take this trust bestowed on you with all sense of responsibility and commitment.
“You should see your appointment as a patriotic national duty and a clarion call to service.
“You will be required to promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of HYPREP to ensure optimal and satisfactory delivery of the required services,” he said.
He charged the members to proffer solutions to the challenges of community disruption due to land disputes, leadership tussles and unnecessary pressure on the contractors.
“If these bottlenecks are removed, work will progress freely and we will regain lost timelines,’’ the president added.
The president said that on March 3, the Federal Executive Council approved award of contracts for the Ogoniland project.
He said that the contracts were for six water supply schemes at a total cost of about N6.05 billion.
He said that the effort was to facilitate the provision of potable water to the impacted communities in demonstration of his commitment to improving their socio-economic conditions pragmatically.
Speaking, Abubakar said that the inauguration was another milestone in the calendar of activities lined up for accomplishment in the life of the present administration.
The minister said that he was delighted that the ministry was implementing the project, adding that it was a commendable development agenda of Mr President worth supporting by all and sundry.
“I am persuaded that this will go a long way in improving the socio-economic and political conditions of the good people of Ogoniland and Nigeria in general.
“I am pleased to acknowledge that it is a new dawn and a refreshing era of elevated federal government presence in Ogoniland with lasting positive impacts on the living conditions of its good people,” she said.
Nwileaghi, who spoke on behalf of the BoT members, thanked the federal government for the opportunity given to them and promised to be committed to ensure that the project was implemented effectively.
By Vivian Emoni