The Federal Government ( FG ) on Tuesday said the sum of $177 million has been paid into the Ogoni clean-up account to remediate polluted lands in the Niger Delta region.
Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, disclosed this during a meeting with the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Laure Beaufils, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Jibrin said: “As I’m talking to you today, that account has been credited with over $177m dollars. This is what is supposed to be contributed by the oil majors, who as per the polluters pay principle, are to pay for cleaning and restoration of these degraded land.
“UNEP recommended an initial bill of over a billion dollar to be used over a period of 5 years. With $177m this year for 2018, the balance of $23 is expected to come from the refineries and we have written to inform the president and he has given directives that the petroleum ministry should handle that issue. So, I believe before the end of the month, we should be able to get a remittance for the balance of $23m to make the $200 million.”
He described the clean-up as very important to the present administration stressing that it is one of the priorities of the federal government.
“I’m aware that the British government is at the fore front of the climate issues strong hold. Environment issues are developmental issues and there is no way one can separate the two of them.
“It is a global issues, Nigeria as you are aware is a huge country and it has over 9, 000 square kilometres of land mass”, he said.
The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria Ms Laure Beaufils, pledged her country commitment to environment issues and climate change in the country.
“We came to talk about the blue economy which talks of the Commonwealth clear oceans alliance and given how rich the Nigeria ecosystem is and the oceans, we have come to discuss how we can further support Nigeria engagement in the alliance and what are the opportunities and strategy to move forward.”
She also harped on the environmental damage in the Niger delta region.
“So, we are here to discuss with the Hon. Minister and his team, what more can be done to support and salvage the Ogoni land clean up. We know a lot has been put in place and we celebrate the fact that the ministry is committed to put in place the right governance structure, to ensure that the clean-up is carried out and done through the right system,” she said.