The federal government has put plans in place to clean up the Niger Delta region of Nigeria as part of strategies to restore the region to its pristine nature. The clean-up plan is to be executed before 2019, the minister for Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said.
The minister said though the clean-up of the region will be a daunting challenge for the federal government, the ministry was ready to channel its energies to clean the region and make it wear a new look and restore its lost glory.
She said in no distance time, the region would come back to its glory as the federal government was ready to tackle the development challenge headlong.
Though she said the region has suffered serious environmental degradation, she said it was the responsibility of the people to keep their environment safe and advised the locales against engaging in vandalizing pipelines, even as she charged the international oil firms to ensure sound environmental best practices in their operations.
Mohammed spoke in Abuja on Thursday, April 21, 2016 when a team from Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) visited her in Abuja to intimate her on Africa Leadership and Security Summit scheduled for November 10, 2016 at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
She explained that the ministry in conjunction with foreign partners has drawn a holistic plan to remedy the degradation done to the region and sued for support from CEPEJ to raise awareness in the region on environmental best practices.
Represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Bukar Hassan, the minister said, “The face of Niger Delta in terms of pollution will change permanently before 2019. We have a long plan and we have gotten foreign partners to help us clean up the environment. We must make sure that the environment is cleaned. It is something we must do otherwise our survival is at stake,’’ she said.
The minister commended the NGO for the initiative, describing the summit with the theme “Sustainable democracy, security, environment and development in Africa’’ as a welcome development and a step in the right direction.
National co-ordinator of CEPEJ, Sheriff Mulade, had lamented the plundering of the environment by unbridled oil exploration and exploitative activities with no stringent penalties being applied by the federal government.
‘’We have been working on peace and environmental preservation because if we destroy our environment, we are destroying our future. Environment is our heritage,’’ he said.