The Federal Government has reiterated plans to clean up the Niger Delta region in a bid to restore the region to its pristine nature.
Amina Mohammed, Minister for Environment, stated this when a team from the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), led by Comrade Sheriff Mulade, National Coordinator, visited her in Abuja to intimate her on the African Leadership and Security Summit scheduled for November 10, 2016 at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
The theme of the summit is, “Sustainable Democracy, Security, Environment and Development in Africa.’’
The Minister who was represented by Dr. Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary, commended the NGO for the initiative, describing it as a welcome development and a step in the right direction.
The minister decried the environmental degradation in the region, stating that it was the responsibility of the people to keep their environment safe and advised the locals against engaging in pipelines vandalism even as she charged the international oil firms to ensure sound environmental best practices in their operations.
She said that cleaning up the region was a very daunting task for the Ministry, but expressed the hope that the region would wear a new look in not too distant time as the Federal Government was poised to tackle the problem head on.
She disclosed that the Ministry in conjunction with foreign partners has drawn up a holistic plan to remediate the environment and sued for support from CEPEJ to raise awareness in the region on environmental best practices.
“The face of Niger Delta in terms of pollution will change permanently before 2019. We have a long plan and we have got foreign partners to help us clean up the environment. We must make sure that the environment is cleaned. It is something we must do otherwise our survival is at stake,’’ she said.
Comrade Mulade had lamented the despoliation of the environment by unbridled oil exploration and exploitative activities with no stringent penalties being applied by the Federal Government.
‘’We have been working on peace and environmental preservation because if we destroy our environment, we are destroying our future. Environment is our heritage,’’ he said.