Port Harcourt - The much awaited Ogoniland clean up exercise was on Thursday launched by the federal government.
The exercise is in line with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recommendations.
Prior to Thursday’s event which gives hope for the restoration of the Ogoni environment, the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, had established the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to oversee the clean-up of Ogoniland, though the project never took off.
The clean up is expected to take about 30 years, according to UNEP
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was earlier scheduled to launch the exercise cancelled his trip at the last minute.
He was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
9.00 President Muhammadu Buhari will not be going to Ogoniland, Rivers State, for the much publicised Niger Delta Clean Up afterall.
He will be represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Bodo, Ogoniland for the kick-off of the exercise.
The cancellation might not be unconnected to security threats to the President from a newly formed militant group, Niger Delta Avengers who had threatened to kill the President should he step foot in the Niger Delta region.
9.25 VP Yemi Osinbajo has just departed Abuja to Port Harcourt to represent Pres. Buhari after he abruptly cancels the trip
9.30 Guests already seated waiting for the arrival of the VP, Yemi Osinbajo.
Among the guests are Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed .
10: 00 Senator Magnus Abe addressies the gathering
10.10 Bishop Mattew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto addresses the crowd. Kukah said the clean up is historic.
10. 30 Former Super Eagles skipper Josepg Yobo now talking. Yobo is an indigene of Ogoniland. He commended President Buhari for the bold step. He promised to mobilize the youths of the area to support the iniative.
10: 40 Despite the fact that the President had cancelled the trip, the MC is still saying that the President is on his way.
10 55: Gov Rochas Okorocha of Imo State arrives the venue of the event.
11.05 VP Yemi Osinbajo arrives in company of the host governor, Nyesom Wike. The arrival of the Vice President is heralded by a rendition of the National Anthem
11. 20 Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed speaks on the significance of the Ogoni clean up exercise.
11.30 King of Ogoni, King Giniwa speaks. The King goes hard on former President Goodluck Jonathan for not doing enough for the Ogoni people. He says he nothing against Jonathan... but in the Ogoni clean up case, the former President made a mistake.
- News 24