From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The Director-General of National Oil Spill Response and Detection Agency, NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, on Wednesday said the Ogoni clean up exercise would take five years and not 30 years as believed.
But he said the restoration of the mangrove areas that have been polluted is what would take between 25 to 30 years.
The DG, who stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja said a sum of $200million is released yearly for five years for the exercise, making a total of $100bn.
His words:”I happened to be the head operations and we really worked hard to actualize what was contained in that report.The major work there, going by the fund, the $1billion that was directed to be set aside that is $200million every year for five years.
“Because the clean up itself is expected to be within a period of five years hence the release of funds on yearly basis at the rate of $200million per year will make up $1billion at the end of the 5th year or at the beginning of the 5th year, so that it will complete the exercise.
“While restoration of the cleanup area, that is if you have cleaned up some of those mangrove areas that have been polluted and put a seedling of mangroves, it will take up to 25 to 30 years before it can grow as tall as the one that withered. And that is where a number of people misplaced the argument, but restoration to its present state will not take up to that, so we need to correct that assumption.”
However, he said funding was not a problem as there is an existing $300 million waiting to be expended on the exercise.
The DG explained that the $300million was part of $360million disbursed towards the Ogoniland Clean-up project by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,( NNPC)and its joint venture partners – Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Total Exploration and Production of Nigeria, TEPNG, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC.
He further noted that the United Nations Environment Programme,(UNEP) report was unable to complete the entire assessment, particularly in one local government,”Notwithstanding it had fact sheets that is every area that is assessed, there are fact sheets given you the details of how the pollution happened and what medium.
“When I say medium I mean is it land, swamp or water and it will tell you the area and the depth that the pollution had gone as I explained earlier in the case of the downstream.
“So we looked at the fact sheets and we classified into three areas, there were some areas that the pollution was not much, we call those ones category B. There are others where the pollution is highly critical; we put that as category A.
“Then we had a category that was X or N, neither here nor there but requires more work to be done for it to have a category whether it is high or not.”