President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 13-member Governing Council and 10-member Board of Trustees for the cleanup of Ogoniland in Rivers.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, announced this in a statement by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Bukar Hassan, in Abuja on Saturday.
The minister said the structures would ensure inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and sustainability of the exercise.
Mohammed acknowledged the concerns raised by stakeholders on the perceived slow pace of the clean up, saying “Nigerians have a right to voice their concerns”, but called for patience.
“We have responsibility to deliver. The launch was the first step in a 30-year journey. We continue to make strides toward the implementation.
“We ask for patience as we lay solid foundations for the cleanup. The context is complex and stakeholders are diverse. All must be taken along”, Mohammed said.
According to her, Buhari remains steadfast in his conviction to see Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta cleaned up.
She said the ministry was working with the Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta, NDDC and key stakeholders in implementing the UNEP report.
The minister said the exercise was a collective responsibility and urged all the Niger Delta communities, especially the Ogonis, to support the remediation and restoration efforts of government.
The UN report estimated that the cleanup of Ogoniland could take up to 30 years with the initial remediation taking five years and the restoration another 25 years.
President Buhari inaugurated the clean up on June 2 at Bodo in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers.