Water projects approved for six local governments in Ogoni land, Rivers state, was commissioned by the federal government to begin construction on Monday.
The inauguration ceremony was conducted by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, in Bohi, Khana local government area of Rivers State. Abubakar said eight additional water project would be inaugurated in the area.
He said the first phase of the projects would be cited in Bori, Khana Local Government in Barako, B-Dere and K-Dere communities, Gokona LGA in KoroKoro, Tai LGA, and in Alesa and Ebubu communities, Eleme LGA, all in the State.
The Minister recalled that Federal Executive Council (FEC) on March 3rd, said the sum of ₦6 billion was approved for the provision of portable drinking water for six communities in Ogoni land.
He disclosed that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) had awarded 57 lots for remediation; while 16 lots have already been completed, six have been certified and closed out as remediate sites, and the remaining are at various stage of progress.
Abubakar added that the president had insisted the best should be delivered to Ogoni people.
“It is my honour and privilege to officially flag off the commencement of construction – these water facilities. You are going to have much bigger tank that is 400 cubic meters of water. That is a lot of water for the people of the community and we are not stopping here.
He, however said, although the project came late, but it was commendable as it stirred hope for Ogoni people; that the promise was eventually fulfilled.
Abubakar also said, the president was swift to endorse the project without any delay when the report was presented to him at the Federal Executive Council meeting.
He further said, “This will help identify appropriate skills for youth, women and men, that can be developed to provide an alternative livelihood, which is part of UNEP’s (United Nations Environment Programme) report.
While commending the Rivers State Government for welcoming the project, it also recognized the world water day as part of government’s effort to join the world to flag off the water scheme.
Abubakar added that the training of 400 women in Agric business at the Songhai farm, in collaboration with the government of Rivers State, was ongoing in line with the recommendations in the UNEP report.
The Acting Project Cordinator of HYPREP, prof Philip Shekwolo admitted that the provision of water should have been the first project. He said it was better late than never, urging the Ogoni people to co-operate with the federal government to make it successful.
Lolo Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News