The Presidency yesterday presented a long list of the areas the Muhammadu Buhari administration has touched in the Niger Delta region.
It showed how the administration elevated the region and the progress it made in the Ogoni clean-up.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said the administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta region had made progress in various areas of the region’s developmental programme.
These, it said, include reorganisation in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Eastern ports’ development and other areas.
The Presidency said the progress report on the Niger Delta New Vision indicated clearly that “since the Ogoni clean-up commenced in January 2019, with 16 contractors moving to site, 21 sites have so far been handed over to contractors by Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) under the Federal Ministry of Environment”.
It added: “This is besides the commencement of the Maritime University in Delta State, now on full steam with over 1,000 students spread across 13 undergraduate courses in three faculties and the progress made in the establishment of modular refineries, including the Niger Delta Resources Refinery (NDPR), which has now moved from 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6,000 bpd a couple of weeks ago.
“There are altogether six modular refineries currently at different stages of completion in the six Niger Delta states of Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Imo.”
Giving details on the Ogoni clean-up, the statement said: “The 21 sites where remediation works are ongoing are located in four of the local government areas in Ogoni land, namely: Eleme, Tai, Khana and Gokana.”
The Presidency said the Buhari administration had received local and international commendations on the Ogoni clean-up.
The 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni land, devastated by decades of oil spills, was not implemented until June 2016, when the Buhari administration kick-started its implementation.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo kick-started the clean-up in the region.
The Presidency said: “The commitment of the Buhari administration to the Ogoni clean-up has received several local and international endorsements with visits to the sites by the Dutch Ambassador, British Deputy High Commissioner, U.S Ambassador, German Ambassador, Norwegian Ambassador, UNEP team, among others, all attesting to the progress being recorded in the clean-up.”
Giving an insight into the progress report, the statement quoted many of those who have attested to the good job on the clean-up.
“I can see that work is ongoing and hopefully it will produce results soon,” the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Marion Kappeyne Van de Coppello, said in August 2019 when she visited one of the sites in Ebube community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“Also, during an inspection visit, the UNEP team leader, Mr. Mike Cowing, said the re-engagement of the UNEP team for the Ogoni clean-up shows the commitment of the Federal Government to effectively implement the UNEP Report.
“We see that very sincere plans are being put together. We are part of the planning and we would be part of the implementation,” Cowing said.
On modular refineries in the region, the Presidency said: “So far, six modular refineries are currently at different stages of completion in the Niger Delta region. The refineries are located in six states in the Niger Delta: Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Bayelsa and Cross River. This includes the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Refinery (NDPR), in Ogbele, Rivers State, which was refining at 1,000 bpd, and was recently upgraded to 6,000 bpd.
“The Federal Government’s Presidential Amnesty Presidential Amnesty Programme continues to engage ex-militants and youths in the Niger Delta region in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes, while creating jobs for beneficiaries.
“The Niger Delta region is also benefitting for the Buhari administration’s efforts to improve the country’s infrastructure, including the Bonny-Bodo road and bridge project.
“This is an important road and bridge going across the Opobo channel, being undertaken as a collaboration between NLNG and the Federal Government.
“When completed, the 34-kilometre Bonny-Bodo road and bridge project, which was flagged off in October 2017, would connect several major communities and boost socio-economic development in the region.
“There is also the Itakpe-Warri rail line project, which is now complete and ready for inauguration. The rail line would handle passenger, commercial and freight services.
“The Federal Government is also in the process of developing sea ports in the region, including Warri, Ibaka deep see port, among other development projects, like the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZs) to boost economic activities.
“In the same vein, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is being repositioned for better delivery. It would be recalled that following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the NDDC has since begun the audit and verification of projects and contracts in the nine Niger Delta states to better serve the people of the region in terms of development,” the statement said.