The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Marion Kappeyne, has said the country is ready to support Nigeria to clean-up decades-long oil spills in Ogoniland.
Kappeyne made the disclosure in Ebube while inspecting ongoing remediation of one of the polluted sites in Ebube community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
She said the clean-up project was one of the Nigerian government’s top priorities that needed the support of all to succeed.
“I came to see things for myself rather than sitting in Abuja and just reading them in the newspapers.
“This part of the country (Niger Delta) is very important, and so, we are following things up to ensure the clean-up is a success,” she said.
She expressed confidence that the clean-up would be carried out in line with global best practice due to collaboration and supervision of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
“The people are assured that they are not forgotten, as we came to see how we can support the clean-up exercise.
“I understand the impatience as people want to see results in cleaning up of their lands. I can see that work is ongoing and hopefully it will produce results soon.
“However, it will be of no one’s interest that the lands which are being remediated get re-contaminated again,” she said.
Also speaking, the UNEP representative to Nigeria, Mike Cowing, said the global body was satisfied with biological processes being carried out in the Ebube remediation site.
He said that the Federal Government had re-engaged UNEP to strengthen the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for full implementation of the 2011 UNEP recommendations.
“The Ebube site is a site that is going to be less complex. When we move to the heavily contaminated sites, then, we will face a more sophisticated remediation approach.
“For site of this nature, what I am seeing now is appropriate and in line with what I had expected.”
Cowing said that UNEP had initiated some training courses and had taken members of the clean-up governing council to the United Kingdom (UK) for training.
“We took them to the UK to expose them to large remediation projects in the UK, so that they would have an understanding of how projects are done.
“The council members were exposed to the technology, planning, contractual relationship as well as compliance to legislation.
On his part, Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil, said that contractors handling the clean-up were already using one of the best soil treatment technologies, biocell, for the project.
According to him, biocell is a biological treatment facility that remedies contaminated soil with use of natural micro organisms.
“The contaminated soil is excavated and put into the biocell for bio-remediation treatment to take place. This allows the natural micro organism to degrade the contaminated soil.
“The micro organism degrades the contaminated soil to a level that would be good enough for us to return the soil to where we took it from,” he said.
Dekil said the clean-up was the first time the Federal Government would be undertaking such task and, as such, was taking practical steps to ensure its success.
HYPREP in the Federal Ministry of Environment was set-up by the Federal Government to coordinate the clean-up of oil-rich but polluted Ogoniland.
Flooding: Fear Grips Engenni Communities As Water Level Rises
Fear of an imminent flood disaster has gripped communities in Engenni kingdom of Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, following the rising level of water in the Orashi River.
Sources from the area informed The Tide that some farmers in the area have begun the premature harvesting of their crops to avoid them being destroyed by the imminent flood disaster while other residents have begun moving their properties out of the area.
Public Relations Officer of Isua Community, Joinkrama told The Tide in a telephone interview that there is widespread fear among residents of communities in the kingdom.
Oka, who is also the principal of Joinkrama Boys school said farmers in the area have began the premature harvesting of crops, in anticipation of flood disaster, while other are relocating from their homes.
“What is happening now is that, there is panic in the communities especially those on the shores of the Orashi river and some people are engaging in premature harvesting of cassava and other crops”.
He said the situation is not only in Engenni kingdom, but Ekpeye communities on the shores of the Orashi river are experiencing similar situation.
Oku said, though there are designated Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the area, the number of persons that will be affected will be too much for them.
He said, the solutions to this problem lies on the government finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He said the constant dredging of the Orashi river is necessary to ensure constant flows of water to the sea, while the adjorning creeks should also be dredged.
He mentioned the creeks to be dredged as that of Joinkrama Mbiama and Okarki.
“The government should open up the creeks at Okarki, Joinkrama and Mbiama for water to flow into the sea.
“Government should also embark on the construction of embankment, “The Orashi river is becoming shallow, Government should dredge it” he said.
The educationist who described the 2018 flooding as the worst however expressed the hope that the situation this year will be different. Oku said the frequency of flooding in the Engenni Kingdom and other parts of the state has supported the theory of climate change, stressing that since 1969, when he experienced the first flood disaster in the Kingdom, its frequency is now raising serious concern among the people.
Safe Water, Sanitation: W’Bank To Invest $350m In Nigeria
Federal Government says World Bank will invest 350 million dollars to support the Partnership of Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme in Nigeria.
The Minister of Water Resources, said this at the National Mr Sulieman Adamu, Stakeholders’ Consultation workshop on Nigeria Rural WASH Project last Thursday in Abuja.
“The World Bank has graciously considered our request and preparing a project in support of the PEWASH programme in the country.
“This is with an investment worth 350 million dollars to deliver sustainable and safe water and sanitation to millions of Nigerians and to support our efforts to end open defecation.
“I sincerely thank the Work Bank for this effort and hope this will open the gate for more supports from our esteemed development,” he said.
Adamu said that the consultation workshop was also aimed at discussing modalities for the implementation of the proposed Nigeria Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project to be supported by the World Bank.
He said the workshop was to review and fashion out modalities necessary for the taking off and the full implementation of the project.
The minister however said that states were expected to meet certain criteria to be qualified and to be ready to receive the support of the proposed project.
He said that these criteria were not anything new, rather the same requirements were necessary for adequate preparation and smooth implementation of the project.
“Mr President during inauguration of the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of the WASH Sector in November 2018 directed that Federal Government support to state governments would be contingent upon their willingness to implement the National Action Plan.
“State governments must therefore be ready to make both political and financial commitment that will be needed for the project being prepared with the World Bank, ”he said.
The minister while unveiling a report on the “Nigeria Rural WASH Services Access and Sustainability Report” said the report provides an assessment of the current rate of WASH services in the country.
He said that the report had evaluated some of the basic drivers underpinning rates and undertook a comprehensive review of the various modalities of WASH provision in the rural Nigeria, among others.
Adamu therefore reiterated commitment to the Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet campaign to stop open defecation in the country by 2025.
Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank’s representative said that low access to Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene services (WASH) was a major reason for this poor performance.
“Lack of WASH services has led to high infant mortality, deteriorates lifelong health and reduces educational attainment that has in turn diminished labour productivity.
“The World Bank is proud to offer continued support as you embark on implementing the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of Nigeria’s WASH sector.
“That is why this year, at the request of your government, our team has begun preparing a new 350 million dollars lending operation in support of rural communities and small towns,” he said.
He said that the project seeks to increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene services and strengthen capacity for service delivery.
Benmessaoud said that with the collaboration of all in the implementation of the Action Plan, the federal, state and local governments, development partners, stakeholders, Nigeria ” can make the impossible possible”.
Rivers Communities Want Govt, NDDC To Tackle Bad Road
Residents of Igbo Etche and other communities in Etche Local Government Area have called on the Rivers State Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to come to their aid following the deplorable conditions of the Rumuokwurushi/Igbo Etche road.
The road constructed in 2016 by the Rivers State Government is in deplorable state, thereby making movement of persons and goods from Etche Local Government Area, the South East and other parts of the country to Port Harcourt, the state capital difficult.
A cross section of the people who spoke with The Tide pleaded with the Rivers State Government to consider the road for reconstruction.
They noted that the poor condition of the road is making it difficult for people living in the area to maintain contact with other parts of the State.
A resident Mr. Chika Onyebuenyi said, life is becoming difficult for the thousands of residents of the area due to the poor condition of the road.
He said, the road is now the gateway to the South East region of the country stressing that motorists coming from Aba and other parts of the South East now ply the Igbo Etche road because of the bad condition of the Aba/Port Harcourt express way.
Also speaking, another resident Favour Aimatu said man hours are being lost daily on the road due to its terrible state.
He said the situation has become a big security risk as criminals use the bad spots on the road to harrass innocent passengers.
On his part Hyke Onyenwe pleaded with the State Government to come to the aid of the people by fixing bad spots on the road.
Mr. Ifeanyi John, another resident decried the poor condition of the road and called for urgent intervention.
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