The Ogoni people have for too long paid a dire price for the wealth which lays in their land, they have been made to die for the black gold from which the nation has survived.
The clean up of Ogoniland commences.
President Buhari has promised to rid the land of the nightmare that for too long has tormented the people.
The cleansing of Ogoniland as proposed for too long has commenced, and the Nigerian president is to launch the Ogoni clean up exercise today, June 2.
Buhari would be represented by vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the scheduled one-day visit to Ogoni land, Rivers state, for the flag-off event.
The Nigerian vice president, Yemi Osinbajo launches the clean-up exercise on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari. The people are agog, even as Osinbajo and other special guests leave the scene of the unveiling.
The president is set for the official launch of the Ogoni Clean-Up exercise. A 5 minute video is played regarding the problems of oil spills in the Niger Delta. They say it will take 25 years to clean up the land.
According to a speech read by Osinbajo, President Buhari says the government has come to fulfill the promise made to the people of Ogoniland. He gives a stern warning on the operations of oil firms within the region as well as the residents of region, urging every one to oprate within the confines of the law. He says the recent upsurge of violence in the Niger Delta, has a great adverse effect on the economy of the nation.
“Today marks another milestone in the life of our administration,” Buhari said while recalling a visit to the region when he as a military ruler commissioned a large fish pond and planted a tree as a sign of the then government’s commitment to the Niger Delta.
The presidents notes that unfortunately the degradation of land, water and air has done huge damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Niger Delta especially Ogoniland. He notes oil exploration has been going on in Nigeria for about six decades and Nigeria has benefited immensely from it. He however stressed that stressing that the grave damage to the region’s ecosystem is either due to the lack of will or willful non compliance with environmental rules, acts, enactments, laws and guidelines given to govern the operators of the oil industry.
“The environment was put in jeopardy,” Buhari said, noting that the various communities noting the negative impact of oil production and lack of consideration for best practices quite rightly commenced the struggle for justice and fair play in the conduct of business by the oil industry operators.
“This process unfortunately led to loss of lives and properties. International concern was raised, while past governments were urged to take decisive steps in addressing the damage,” Buhari noted.
He applauded Obasanjo’s government for engaging UNEP, he however noted that the reports of UNEP were submitted to his predecessor in 2011 but the implementation was not afforded the support it required, hence the pollution continued.
Buhari said his government is determined to right the wrongs of the past, when the people of Ogoniland were treated unfairly. He noted that the event marked the fulfillment of a promise made not too long ago to the Ogoni people. The president said he has come to bring justice and succor to the people.
“The clean up of this land will require change on the part of all, those who deal with the Niger Delta environment, particularly the oil companies and our communities,”
In conclusion, Buhari said his government was laying the foundation for the restoration of the fragile ecosystem of Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta. He urged all Nigerians irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic affiliations to support the current administration.
While giving a stern warning that the current oil theft and illegal refining will not be tolerated, Buhari reaffirmed that his government remains prepared to see to diversifying the economy for great growth in the nation.
The president of Nigeria ably represented by his vice is called up for his address. Professor Osinbajo prays for the Ogoni people, saying that the change and restoration which Ogoniland is about to go through, will cause a positive change in the lives of the people, in the businesses of the Ogoni people and even spreading on to other communities in the Niger Delta.
Governor Nyesom Wike is called up to give his remark, the Rivers people roar loudly their support for their governor. Wike says that the commencement of this project will see to the restoration and the returning of peace, not only to Ogoniland and Rivers state, but indeed within the Niger Delta region. He ends his speech by urging the Rivers people to embrace this new dawn in Ogoniland, stressing that the Rivers state government will do everything to support the restoration that is about to take place.
Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi, the minister of transport, is called up to the podium. The crowd loves him and cheers loudly. Amaechi speaks on how UNEP came to Rivers state. He states that this day is truly remarkable in that it shows that Buhari has come to effect real change and in doing that bring growth to the Ogoni people. He ends his speech with informing the people that the Ogoni people have conferred on President Buhari the title of Nene Nwanne.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director, Achim Steiner takes to the stage, addressing briefly issues inherent the UNEP reports.
MD of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Osagie Okubo takes to the podium. He expresses profound appreciation to Buhari and the Federal Government for renewed action on the implementation of the UNEP reports on the Ogoniland.
Jonathan failed the Ogoni people, says top traditional ruler of Ogoniland, HRH GNK Giniwa. Giniwa who serves are president of the Ogoni supreme council, says that that which is in the past should be left in the past. He urges the Federal Government to ensure that the Ogoni people are remembered and imbibed into the system as to have them regain their lost years, “the Ogoni people have suffered too much,” he buttresses.
The Nigerian president ably represented is filled in on what has transpired in Ogoniland in the past and what the people hope for in the future, even as Hon minister of environment, Amina Mohammed takes the centre stage.
Professor Yemi Osibanjo steps in, alongside the governor of Rivers state, and some ministers of Nigeria including Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Hon Rotimi Amaechi. The arena is agog even as the band plays the Nigerian national anthem in low tunes. Also present at the event venue are some distinguished senators of the 8th Nigerian Senate.
The guests are treated to the delight of the fabled bottom-dance of the Ogoni people, just as the Governor of Imo state steps in, Governor Rochas Okorocha. Athletic young Ogoni ladies thrill the crowd to an Ogoni dance, the people love it and appreciate immensely.
Miss Nigeria 2016, Pamela Peter-Vigboro takes to the stage, appreciating the government for the initiative and the heart that heeds to the call of the people. She urges the Ogoni people to remain ever fervent and united as life returns to Ogoniland. She urges the government to ensure that the Ogoni people are carried along in the execution of the project. She pleads to the youths not allow exuberance lead them down the wrong path, lest the labours of fallen Ogoni people would be in vain.
Chief Joseph Yobo takes to the podium. He observes all protocols and takes the people down memory lane on the plight of the Ogoni people. The ex-Nigerian footballer urges the people especially the youths to support the government and to ensure that the project is executed to perfection.