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Bodo (Rivers) President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned that the Federal Government would no longer tolerate the current theft and illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
Buhari, represented by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbanjo, gave the warning at the launch of “Clean-Up of Ogoniland’’ at Bodo, Gokana Local Government of Rivers.
Buhari urged the regulators of oil industry to carry out their responsibilities in line with best practices. “The current oil theft and illegal refining will not be tolerated.
The regulators in the oil industries must live up to expectations. “They must ensure that oil companies carry out their operations in line with universal best services,’’ he said.
Buhari said that government was laying a foundation for change to ensure the rule of law and safety of the people. He said the aim was to diversify the nation’s economy and provide jobs and wealth for the people. According to him, the clean-up of Ogoniland will have sustainable development components will benefit the people.
“The methodology for the clean-up will ensure job creation for young people. The agro-allied industries required for processing of agricultural produce will also be put in place,’’ the president said.
Buhari also said that approval had been given to set up necessary institutional framework to drive the implementation of the UNEP Report. Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers commended Buhari for inaugurating the implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoniland.
He said that the state government would provide the platform for the smooth implementation of the Report.
The governor said that environmental degradation had affected ecosystem and wild life of communities in the Niger Delta. The minister of Environment, Miss Amina Mohammed, said that government had taken stock of the work done in the past to start the implementation.
She said the clean-up would require collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure its success. Mohammed said the implementation “requires transparency, accountability, genuine partnership and proper representation of the people at the grassroots in what we are doing in investing in their future,’’ she said.
Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, said the organisation’s team had produced a document of what happened in Ogoniland. He said that the team would stand with the Nigerian government to ensure the implementation of the report.
Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari canceled at the last minute a visit planned for Thursday to the oil-producing Niger Delta, which has been hit by a wave of militant attacks, a government source said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will instead visit the restive southern region to launch a cleanup program of the Ogoniland, an area badly hit by oil spills, the source said, without giving a reason for Buhari’s cancellation, reports Reuters.
Buhari had already skipped a visit to the commercial capital Lagos in the south last month at the last minute.
Posters with his picture had been already hung up to welcome the president before his spokesman cited “scheduling” difficulties.