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Ogoni cleanup is FG’s priority in 2021– Minister

The Minister of the Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, has said that the Ogoni clean-up exercise would top the ministry’s priority in the 2021 fiscal years.

He spoke while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals before the Senate Committee on Environment.

He said his ministry was currently tackling environmental issues including oil spills, among others.

The ministry had a total allocation of N8.9bn for capital projects in the 2021 budget.

He said, “Three weeks ago, we were able to complete six remediated sites that are being certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency right now.

“I think about three or four more are in the pipeline to be completed and certified and the remaining 15 sites of the first 21 are being worked on seriously and we completion very soon.

“There are 36 additional sites that have been awarded. They are at various stages of work.

“There are livelihood programmes that are going on which have been part of the clean-up project by UN Environment Programme also ongoing.

“About 1,200 women and youths are being trained in various skills like agriculture, aquaculture, poultry, welding and so on.

“A great number of youths have been employed by the projects.”

The Senate committee, however, expressed disappointment over Nigeria’s disregard for environmental safety issues.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said that government’s failure to accord priority to environmental issues was underscored by the relatively poor budgetary allocation to the Environment Ministry.

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