The presidential launch of the clean-up of oil spills in Ogoni land, Rivers State, Nigeria, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report has commenced.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is performing the launch.
President Muhammadu Buhari is being represented by the Vice President.
Just before delivering the President’s message to the people, Professor Osinbajo described the occasion as an historic one, not just in the lives of Ogoni people but also for the entire Niger Delta.
He said that the clean-up of Ogoni land was not just a restoration of the environment but would be a restoration of families, the people’s wealth, health and everything that is good about the land.
He prayed that this would mark the beginning of real change in the land and in the future of the Ogonis.
“It is the day of victory”, he said, believing that it would be the beginning of many more good things.
Prominent Ogoni leaders have also been extolling the federal government for embarking on the programme which is scheduled to last for 30 years.
The Minister for the Environment, Ms Amina Mohammed, has reiterated the need for the people to support the exercise.
She said that the President having kept his promise to the Niger Delta people, cleaning up Ogoni land is now a collective responsibility of the government and the people.
The Federal Government had said that it is committed to restoring the ecosystem to what it used to be and as such restore the peoples’ source of livelihood.
Government says that it is not just committed to implementing the UNEP report but is going beyond that by taking steps to improve security, good governance and economy of the Niger Delta region.