By Damilola Shittu
The Federal Government on Monday announced that it had raised the sum of $177m out of the $1bn required for the cleanup of Ogoni land in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
It stated that refineries of crude oil were expected to raise the balance, adding that the $1bn was to be raised over a period of five years.
The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, disclosed this while playing host to the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils in Abuja.
He said, “As I’m talking today, that (Ogoni cleanup) account has been credited with the sum of $177m. This is what is supposed to be given by the oil majors who are there and to pay for the cleaning and restoration of those degraded lands.”
Jibril said an initial bill of $1bn was recommended to be used over a period of five years, adding that “with the $177m for 2018, the balance is expected to come from the refineries and we have written to inform the President, he (President) has given the directives that the petroleum ministry should handle that issue.
He also spoke on the devastating effect of climate change on Nigeria, adding that the ministry had to create a department to help tackle the challenges posed by the development.
“The issue of climate change has been brought to bear in the southern part of this country, as can been seen in the constant erosion in some of those areas. That is why we have a full Technical Department of Erosion Control,” he said.
The minister told his guest that in the northern part of Nigeria, “we have the problem of the Sahara desert in places like Borno and Yobe states.”