Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
After almost two years of promise with little action on the cleanup of Ogoni land, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, Minister of State for Environment said the Federal Government would ensure it achieves tremendous result in the next three to six months for the people.
He said the ministry has a lot of activities nationwide but funding has been an issue and as such that government had to prioritise.
Jibril gave the assurance in Abuja while hosting the new FAO country representative, Suffyan Koroma and his management team, where he noted that the Ogoni cleanup was still on top of the agendabof the government.
He disclosed that the ministry would focus on three key issues – Ogoni cleanup, desertification and erosions control – this year.
Jibril stated: “We need to clean Ogoni land of oil pollution so that if and when we are diversifying they can also do their farming and fishing activities. For now they cannot do these because the land and water are polluted,”
“Our emphasis will be driven strictly toward ensuring that we achieve tremendous result in the next three to six months for the people.”
“Second on the list, is the issue of desertification, which is of grave concern to the ministry. The ministry would put a lot of pressure on the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) to deliver results.
“This is where the collaboration will come to play, to deliver the strength of our capacities and strengthen our means of doing things according to best practices and to be sure that the lost and degraded lands are recovered and kept in a manageable, sustainable way,”
“Thirdly, with the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) taking care of gully erosion in the entire country, they intend to restore degraded lands.
“We have 19 states on this programme and we want to continue to ensure that we recover lands degraded as a result of gully erosion which occur as a result of poor land management practices. If we can get our act right and get people to change their way of doing things and move on to a land sustainable management, I believe we can achieve a lot,” the minister added.
Earlier, Koroma, said that FAO has been the longest development partner that Nigeria has, stressing that there are a couple of challenges facing Nigeria which they are working together to address, including diversification and restoration of degraded land and other aspects.
He stressed that FAO would work with the ministry to look at the review of forest policy, National Afforestation project investment plan and other hardcore areas.
“Our activities are spread across a lot of spheres and we are also responding to the government priority,” Koroma said.