Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has expressed worry that the people of the oil- rich Niger Delta region are dying just for Nigeria to survive.
The governor stated this, Friday when the Minister of Environment, Mr Suleiman Hassan Zarma paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike decried the deliberate neglect of the region despite the obvious fact that the region is suffering untold environmental hardship for keeping the country afloat.
The governor said: “ We are dying because we are keeping the country alive. Nobody wants to give us the attention required. These people who are suffering because of the nation’s survival, why not give them priority to survive?”
Wike who expressed his support for the fight against insurgency, stated that nothing is worse than environmental pollution.
He urged the federal government to withdraw funds from the Excess Crude Account to address the environmental challenges in Ogoni land just as was done when it withdrew $1billion to fight insurgency.
“ They took $1billion from the Excess Crude Account to fight insurgency. I say they should take $500 million from the Excess Crude Account for the Ogoni clean up exercise.
He said that the Ogoni clean up exercise has been politicised, stressing that the Federal ,Ministry of Environment has come to hand over sites to contractors three years after the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo flagged off the exercise and wondered why the two activities took place when elections approached.
He said: “ Three years ago, the president , represented by the vice president flagged off the clean up during the rerun elections. One month to the general elections, the minister of Environment has come to hand over the sites.
“If I tell you I believe sincerely that you people want to clean up Ogoni land, I am telling you lies. Surprise me and prove me wrong”.
He called on the minister of Environment to investigate cases of deduction of funds from contracts awarded for the clean up exercise.
The governor who assured the minister of the support of Rivers State Government to achieve the goals of remediation of polluted Ogoni environment.
He further urged the Ministry of Environment to ensure that befitting communities are patronised during the clean up exercise and that all the approved steps were taken by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project .