The Minister of State for Environment, Mr Ibrahim Jibril has visited residents of Benue State, who were worst hit of the flood disaster which occurred recently in the state.
Jibril visited the areas affected by the floods alongside the deputy governor of Benue State, Mr Benson Abounu, who is also the chairman of the floods relief committee recently set up by the state government.
It was an emotional moment in the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, as Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council held a valedictory session for the out-going Minister Of Environment, Amina Mohammed.
Mrs Mohammed, who has served the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for 15 months, is set to take over as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations on March 7, 2017.
The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who chaired the session, described the out-going minister as a role model to Nigerian women.
Some of her colleagues also lauded her achievements, describing her as a gift from Nigeria to the world.
The minister, who could not hide her emotions while giving her address, said she was proud to be the one to fly Nigeria’s flag up there at the United Nations, promising to give it her best shot.
The out-going Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said that the people of Ogoni land will see tangible cleanup of their area in the next five years.
The minister said this during the ground breaking ceremony of the building of the centre of excellence, otherwise known as the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre in Bori, Khana local government area of Rivers state.
The event brought together federal and state government officials, traditional rulers, commuinity leaders, as well as members of the board of trustees for the clean-up of Ogoni land.
In June 2016, the Federal Government formerly launched the clean-up of oil spills in the region, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
The government had said that it is committed to restoring the ecosystem to what it used to be and as such restore the peoples’ source of livelihood.
It also stated that it is not just committed to implementing the UNEP report but is going beyond that by taking steps to improve security, good governance and economy of the Niger Delta region.
In an attempt to restore peace in the oil-rich region, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been meeting with government officials and traditional rulers.
The Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina has again assured Nigerians that the end of the country’s economic challenge is nearer than ever.
Speaking on Politics Today, Mr Adesina said that all efforts of the Buhari administration to get Nigeria and Nigerians back on their feet would begin to materialize before the end of 2017.
He added that projections by notable international agencies have also predicted that Nigeria would exit recession in 2017.
“World Bank has said it, IMF has said it and before those institutions, the government has said it,” he said.
Adesina refused to have the Buhari administration blamed for the recession that hit the country saying Nigeria had been ‘primed for recession’ at the time Buhari became President.
“That recession was inevitable (with) the way Nigeria had been run two to four years prior the time we went into recession. There was no way it would not have happened,” he said.
He explained that President Buhari remained committed to correcting the mistakes of the past.
“What he is doing is good governance which will translate to better life for the people. It’s not going to be by a sudden flight, it’s not a magic wand that he will wave – policies that will yield over time and lead to improvements in the life of the people,” he said.
President Not Sick
Mr Adesina also debunked the rumours that President Buhari has been ill and wondered why critics altered the sequence of the statement issued regarding the President’s trip to the UK in order to make the President appear ill.
“Don’t forget, the statement we issued said he was going on holiday and during that holiday he would do medical checkups. The sequence is very important – holiday first, medical checkups second.
“Nigerians want to turn the sequence to medical checkups instead of holiday first.”
Mr Adesina’s explanation also triggered questions regarding the President’s trust in the quality of medical services in Nigeria but he argued that it is usually important to consult doctors who have the patient’s medical history.
“Before he became President, he has been using those same set of people. So, it stands to reason that the same people continue to attend to him,” he explained.
There have been questions regarding the current makeup of the President’s cabinet, with many wondering if there would be a rejig of ministerial appointments.
The death of the Kogi state-born former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi, and the impending exit of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed for her UN appointment have also fuelled the speculation that there could be a rejig.
However, Mr Adesina insisted that it remained the prerogative of the President to rejig his cabinet.
While admitting that citizens have the rights to criticize the cabinet in the face of economic challenges, he maintained that the President has the final say on who works with him.
He gave the assurance that President Buhari is in touch with the grassroots and understands the challenges Nigerians have been going through.
The outgoing Minister of Environment in Nigeria, Mrs Amina Mohammed, says the Ogoni clean-up and the establishment of the Great Green Wall are legacies which will outlive her time in office.
She made the statement as she prepares to assume office as the next Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Her appointment was announced on Thursday by the United Nations Secretary-General-designate, António Guterres.
He said he “will be appointing Amina Mohammed of Nigeria as the UN deputy chief”, on his assumption of office as the ninth chief of the global organisation in January 2017.
Giving an account of her one year in office at the Federal Ministry of Environment Headquarters in Abuja on Friday, the minister stated that the war on environmental pollution was entering a critical implementation phase in the first quarter of 2017.
From supervising Nigeria’s contributory implementation of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change to cut back carbon emissions by 27% over the next 15 years, the outgoing Minister of Environment now moves to superintend over the coordination and administration of United Nations’ policy around the world.
Urging patience from the locals in the Niger Delta, the outgoing minister emphasised that the clean-up of Ogoniland is in effect and on course.
The minister stated that laws establishing agencies under the ministry had been revised for legislative amendment to ensure greater efficacy while critical infrastructure and equipment have been updated with further construction in progress.
The outgoing minister affirmed that progress had been recorded in reducing the sulphur content in Nigeria’s fuel supply to reduce emissions even as the ministry has partnered with the Federal Road Safety Corps to remove excessively polluting vehicles from the road.
While the new UN Deputy leaves the domestic environment to make influential inputs affecting the environment of the global village, she maintains that her keen interest in Nigeria’s environmental health will not abate as she departs office.
She has served as Special Advisor to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) is pushing for a law reform to enable the agency perform its duties effectively.
The agency’s Director General, Peter Idabor,made the recommendation in Abuja at a meeting with the Chairman House Committee on Environment and the Minister of Environment.
According to him, the existing laws that established the agency made it impossible for it to criminalise those responsible for oil spills especially in the Niger Delta region.
The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency -NOSDRA is an agency of the Federal Government created to take the lead in ensuring timely and effective response to oil spills and ensure that clean-up and remediation are made to affected sites.
Since its establishment by an Act of the National Assembly in 2006, however, the agency has continued to contend with the overwhelming numbers of sites needing clean-up in the Niger Delta region.
After the Director General of NOSDRA explained how the laws that established the agency had limited its performance, the Chairman House Committee on Environment, Obinna Chidoka, assured the agency of the support of the legislators.
He, however, pointed out that the existing laws could make the agency do its job.
One of the areas needing clean-up is Ogoni Land and the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, explained the reasons behind the delay in executing the clean-up project of the Ogoni Land in the Niger Delta region.
The Federal Government had announced the clean-up of Ogoni Land in June this year, but five months after, that project is yet to be executed.
The Nigerian government has pledged its readiness to tackle the environmental challenges in the country in order to ensure a safer environment for all persons.
Speaking in Abuja at the 2016 annual conference of the Nigerian Environmental Society, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed says the government remains committed to diversifying the nation’s economy by reclaiming deserts for agricultural purpose.
The Minister informed the gathering of the federal government’s resolve to tackle issues of environmental challenges in addition to diversifying the nation’s economy.
“As you are all aware, this administration is highly committed to addressing issues concerning our environment. The federal ministry of environment is driving a new narrative of empowering people, taking climate action and protecting the environment as a whole and it also remains one of the key pillars of the change agenda of this administration”.
The president of the Nigerian Environmental Society, Professor Lawrence Ezemonye, takes advantage of the occasion to appeal to the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the institute of environmental practice bill in order to address issues of quackery in the profession.
“We seek the support of the federal government, the National Assembly, stakeholders and all present today to support the passage into law, the bill for the Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria. This is what we are looking for. This is our plight.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, called for a global synergy that will ensure the protection of the environment for generations unborn as he announces the financial commitment of Britain to the fight against climate change.
“As of September 2015, 62 million UK pounds from the UK’s Global Environmental Fund and Clean Technology had been put to projects in Nigeria to support adaptation and the wider fight against climate change.”
Although environmental challenges are said to be huge, the annual conference of the Nigerian Environmental Society is expected to produce a road map that will guarantee the protection of the environment and the promotion of a green economy.
The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.
He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.
President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
Nigeria’s present economic situation may still be biting hard, but the situation urgently requires elected leaders to put aside personal differences and interests and focus on delivering good governance to those they represent.
This charge was giving by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to participants of the ongoing maiden edition of the executive and legislative retreat in Lagos.
Governor Ambode said that the recession taking its toll on Nigerians is a wakeup call for leaders at all levels to come together for the purpose of rescuing the nation rather than seeing it as an opportunity to amass resources for selfish purposes.
The 3-day retreat had in attendance members of the executive and the legislature at the state and federal level.
Party leaders from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties in the state were also part of it.
The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, says issues in Niger Delta are very important to President Buhari-led government.
She says one of the things earmarked to be addressed is the lack of peace in the region.
After that is the cleaning up of what she described as a decade of injustice to the region, she told reporters on Friday.
The Minister, who made these remarks while on an assessment tour of some oil facilities in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, further explained that the clean-up of the whole of the Niger Delta was the overall intention of the Federal Government.
The coastal town of Brass Island in Bayelsa State has been getting a lot of attention lately.
Aside it being the community where some soldiers recently lost their lives, it is the location of the soon to commence ‘Brass ING Plant”.
This community also has other oil companies operational in its domain and because of their presence, Brass is usually a hotspot for oil pollution.
The Minister of Environment said the pollution of the area had triggered her visit to get first-hand assessment of the realities and possibly proffer solution.
However, not everyone believes in the sincerity of her visit and was seen in the statement of Honourable Bina Bello.
An enraged Minister, however, replied her critics and advised that the good intentions of the government should not be politicised.
She assured them of the government’s preparedness to give them better living condition.
The Minister, who also visited the paramount ruler of the Town-Brass, King Diete Spiff, revealed that the visit was just one in a series of her visits to the Niger Delta.
part of her visit to the area was to see and learn more about other forms of pollution that are prevalent in the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the nomination of the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, to serve in the African Union (AU) Reform Steering Committee.
The committee, headed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is tasked with ongoing institutional reforms of the AU Commission and its organs.
The committee, which comprises eminent persons from the continent, will work on part-time basis to produce a report for presentation to the 28th African Union Summit in January 2017.
In a statement by a spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency described the Minister as a versatile and accomplished development practitioner in the public, private and civil society sectors.
She has over three decades’ experience and had served as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on MDGs, serving three Presidents over a period of six years.
Until her appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in November 2015, she was the Assistant Secretary/Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning.