The Federal Government of Nigeria says it has commenced the restoration of mangroves covering an area of about 1,416 hectares in Ogoniland.
Dr Ferdinand Giadom, Project Coordinator, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) made this known at a two-day workshop on environmental remediation organised by HYPREP in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday, July 22, 2022.
The workshop, with the theme: “Detailed Site Characterisation, Remediation Strategies and Framework Development,” was organised to sensitise indigent Ogonis on progress of work of ongoing clean-up project in Ogoniland.
The Federal Government in 2016 commenced the clean-up of decades-long crude oil spillages in Ogoniland in compliance with the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on the area.
Giadom said the restoration of about 1,416 hectares of mangroves plains in the area was captured in the 2021 proposed work plan of the Federal Ministry of Environment.
“To this end, this workshop is the second in the series of talk shops organised by HYPREP to engage relevant stakeholders with focus on delivering the project.
“We are focusing primarily on three key areas of site assessment, shoreline clean-up assessment techniques and remediation as well as how we can develop a framework for their implementation.
“HYPREP needs the guidance of all stakeholders on this (clean-up) journey, to ensure a cleaner and greener Ogoniland,” he said.
The project coordinator said that HYPREP had already completed the assessment of grids along shorelines, channels, mud flats as well as degraded mangrove platforms in Ogoniland.
He said the lead clean-up agency had detected that “Pre-SCAT” activities only affected Ogoni coastal communities in Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas covering Ogoniland in Rivers.
“However, the SCAT team has commenced field activities at B-Dere and K-Dere both in Gokana. So far, the team has assessed a total of 351 grids covering about 1,416 hectares.
“We have commenced the implementation of the UNEP recommendations with regards to mangrove restoration.
“Similarly, our technical team of assessors have also commenced characterization and delineation of complex and medium-risk impacted sites across Ogoniland,” he added.
Giadom said the assessment was done to determine the specific characteristics of each site as well as extent of contamination with focus to proffering solutions.
Also speaking, the Director General of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr Idris Musa, said the Federal Government was committed to the remediation exercise.
According to him, the clean-up project when completed would restore the livelihoods and environment of the Ogoni people.
“So, NOSDRA is fully involved in the clean-up exercise by monitoring the progress of work of the remediation exercise.
“To this end, we have certified many of the completed remediation sites in the ongoing Ogoniland clean-up project,” he said.
By Desmond Ejibas