By Etuka Sunday
In a bid to ensure the restoration of Ogoniland as proposed in the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP Report, the federal government has inaugurated a Multi-Stakeholder Committee in that regard.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe said the committee was inaugurated by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The statement said, the 14-member Committee which is expected to hit the ground running is saddled with the immediate responsibility of proposing a focused engagement and implementation plan with clearly defined steps. The group is also mandated to advise the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project, (HYPREP) Advisory Council on the manner in which assets and funds of the project may be held and utilized.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Committee, Mrs. Alison-Madueke stated that the establishment of the Committee is a direct response to the yearnings of the Ogoni people and other stakeholders for inclusion in the effective engagement by government to activate an enduring and robust environmental restoration of Ogoniland.
“It is based upon the further recommendations of the HYPREP Advisory Council, that I have reached out to patriotic Nigerians from within and outside the Ogoni community to constitute this Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Committee,’’ the Minister said.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke further stated that it is expected that this Committee will brainstorm and develop suggestions for a clear and actionable roadmap for the restitution of the Ogoni people and restoration of the environment for healthy living conditions.
“ I am expecting that in due course, learnings from the Ogoni restoration work can and will be applied in other parts of Nigeria, facing similar environmental degradation problems,’’ she said.
The Committee has as its chairman, Dr. Jamila Shu’ara, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Its members include: His Majesty, King Godwin N.K. Gininwa, Chairman, Rivers State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Rulers, and Gbenemene of Tai Kingdom, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, President, MOSOP, Prof. Ben Naane, Prof. Rosaline Konyan, Dr. Abraham Olungwe, Mr. Friday Kpelo, all representatives of the Ogoni community. Others members include: Ambassador Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator, Shuaibu Otori, Representative of the Office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr. John Lahu, Representative of the Ministry of Environment, Jube Jemide, Representative of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Jonathan Okehs, representing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Austin Igboko, Representative of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. George Oguachuba, Representative of Total and Mr. Angelo Madera, Representative of Nigeria Agip Oil Company.