The Nigerian President has reiterated the commitment of his administration to the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers State.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this during the inauguration of the board of trustees and members of the governing council for the clean-up at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The federal government recently launched the clean-up of Ogoniland with a promise to expedite action on it.
But criticisms have trailed the delay in kick-starting the project, weeks after the exercise was launched.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, it will take between 25 to 30 years to restore the oil-polluted environment to a clean state.
President Buhari had made similar promise in January 2016 during a visit to the United Nations office in the Kenyan capital, where he urged the United Nations to give more support for his administration’s efforts to clean up the region.
“When I came into office on May 29, 2015, one of the first tasks I carried out was to authorise the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) for the clean-up of Ogoniland.
“The devastation caused by oil spillage has destroyed many lives and livelihoods and is clearly one of the reasons why many people in that region lost faith in government and resorted to the many criminal activities we are seeing in the region today.
“The action our government took to implement UNEP’s recommendations has given the indigenes of the region hope that there are better days ahead.
“Let me, therefore, express appreciation on behalf of the government of Nigeria to UNEP and other development partners for their cooperation and support on this very delicate matter and also request for their continued support as we implement the recommendations and transform the fortunes of the region,” President Buhari said.