The Pan-African Agency of Great Green Wall (PGGW) on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s take-over of the leadership of the Council of the PGGW would facilitate easier access to about $5 billion in grants and $14 billion loans to member countries.
The loan and the grants would be from the International Monetary Fund and European Union Bank as they had expressed support for the GGW programme.
Environment Minister, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said this while briefing newsmen on recent developments in the environment sector on Wednesday in Abuja.
Abubakar said that one of the developments was Nigeria’s assumption of the GGW Presidency and hosting of the council of presidents of the GGW countries.
He said that 11 countries, namely Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan make up the GGW support for Nigeria’s presidential aspirations.
According to him, the council believes that President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was capable of taking the GGW delivery structure to a higher level, if he becomes the Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of PAN-GGW.
“If the Nigerian President takes over the leadership of the PAN-GGW, it would be easier for the GGW programme to access about $5 billion as grant and $14 billion soft loan available out there.
“This is because of the respect the world has for the President,” he said.
The minister said that on July 29, 2021 at the 7th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the PAGGW in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the council adopted some development reports.
“The reports included that of Nigeria hosting the 8th ministers meeting of the PAGGW later in the year, as well as hosting the 5th summit of the Heads of State and Government virtually in September, 2021.
“That Buhari assumes the Presidency of the Heads of States and Government of the PAGGW at the end of the 5th Summit, while Abubakar, the minister of environment, assumes the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers at the end of the 5th Summit,” he said.
He added that the Nouakchott meeting also stressed the importance of using the GGW programme to address Africa’s biodiversity problem, as the GGW programme remained the future of Africa.
The Minister, who also gave an update on the Ogoni cleanup, blamed vandalism of pipelines by the communities and other issues of insecurity as the reasons for the delay in cleaning up Ogoniland.
Abubakar said following the constant pipeline vandalism, the government decided to engage the youths with jobs, so that they might not have the time to break the pipelines.
“The government also decided to provide water to the communities, being one of the needs of the people.
“Before the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the cleanup committee was domiciled in the Ministry of Petroleum, which was a misplacement.
“So, on assumption of office, the administration returned it to the Ministry of Environment.
“On Aug. 4, 2011, exactly 10 years today, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) submitted their report of Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland to the Federal Government, which they were commissioned to undertake.
“In July 2012, as a follow-up action, the Federal Government established the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP), under the Ministry of Petroleum, to implement the UNEP Report, the project could not take off properly.
“In June 2016, Buhari, represented by Vice President, Prof. Osibanjo, inaugurated the Ogoniland cleanup at Bodo Waterside, in fulfillment of his election campaign promise in 2015.
“After about two years of careful logistic arrangements, community contacts and technical preparations, the first phase of 21 clean-up and remediation contracts were rolled out.
“Then followed by another set of 29 remediation and seven tier-2 assessment contracts in 2020.
“The cleanup had trained the youths for sustainable alternative livelihood and provided a Public Health Inventory, Environmental Surveillance and construction of Centre of Excellence for Environmental Studies/Remediation.
“In addition, we are also constructing HYPREP area offices in each of four Local Government Area Councils in Ogoniland. This will bring the project closer to the benefitting communities.
“We are in the process of engaging about 500 Ogoni youths across the four LGAs, as special community security agents for the project,” he said.
By Vivian Emoni