The Federal Government has said money meant for the clean-up of Ogoniland is not for sharing, but for investment that will ultimately lead to the restoration of Ogoniland.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who made this remark during the launch of an integrated soil management centre on Thursday in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, explained that 1,200 Ogoni women would be trained in order to be part of the clean-up process.
She stated that women made a lot of sacrifices and carried a lot of burden that had contributed to the decision to clean up Ogoniland.
Mohammed also appealed to the people of Niger Delta to stop any act that would continue to pollute the area and added that the economy of the oil-rich region would not be diversified if pollution continued in the area.
Describing the clean-up as a collective effort, the minister maintained that all hands must be on deck for a successful clean-up of the region.
“There are many people who have benefited from the injustice and misery in Ogoniland and we will not allow them to do that again. This project is a collective effort; we must ensure that we succeed. We are not here to be sharing money, but to invest money.
“What are we going to give you after the clean-up, it is to provide job for you. That is the reason we want to keep this place clean. President (Muhammadu) Buhari has talked about the diversification, but the way we are polluting the environment here, there is no diversification for Niger Delta.
“There would be no diversification of the economy of Niger Delta if we continue to pollute the environment; we are pleading, let today be a new era in the Niger Delta. We must stay clean after the clean-up,” she said.
Mohammed pointed out that the launch of the integrated soil management centre was part of the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme on Ogoniland.
She explained that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the development of Niger Delta, adding that steps taking towards the clean-up of Ogoniland were part of the campaign promises of the current administration.
Mohammed urged traditional leaders, youths and civil society groups to support the Federal Government to succeed in restoring Ogoni environment.
“The development of Ogoniland is the priority of this administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is one of his campaign promises. This is the recognition of the fight, struggle, and injustice to Ogoni people.
“What we want to do is to start something that in the next five years, people will attest to government effort. In the next 20 years, we will restore Ogoniland to where it was years ago,” she said.