The much-awaited clean-up of the Ogoniland in Rivers State will commence fully by the end of this month, the Federal Government said on Wednesday.
The government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and multi-national oil companies have mobilised $180million for the exercise.
A total of 21 contractors picked for the clean-up will report to the site by the end of the month.
The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, disclosed this at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Jibrin, who spoke with State Correspondents as the meeting rose, stressed, “I can confidently tell you that before the end of this month, in the next weeks, there will be 21 companies that will be mobilised to the site to start the work.”
The minister explained that the firms emerged from a rigorous bidding process that started with an initial entry of 400 companies for the job.
He added that the number was later scaled down to 183 after the technical evaluation was done and eventually, 21 were picked.
Speaking on funding for the project, the minister recalled that the government set up the Ogoni Trust Fund primarily to mobilise funds for the clean-up.
He announced that so far, $180m had been mobilised for the take-off of the exercise later this month.
Jibrin spoke further, “Right from the NNPC, Shell Petroleum Development Company and the (J) Ventures; they have mobilised $180m. It is in the Escrow Account with the Standard Chartered Bank of London and the Board of Trustee is managing that.
“So, as far as we are concerned, we can beat our chest and say that the (President Muhammadu) Buhari administration has shown the way forward on this clean-up and we hope and pray that the people whom we are working for will have cause to laugh and smile very soon.”