Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday presided over the signing of the escrow agreement to draw $170million from the first tranche of the $1bn Ogoni clean-up funding recommended by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
The signing was witnessed by the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril; the chairman of the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees of the Ogoni Trust Fund, Wale Edun; Ogoni representative and member of the BoT of the Ogoni Trust Fund, Godwin Okpabi and representatives of international oil companies.
The vice president reiterated the present administration’s commitment to carrying out the clean-up of Ogoniland transparently.
He recalled: “On June 2, 2016, I had the privilege of flagging-off the clean-up exercise in Ogoniland. We made the promise that the clean-up exercise would start as soon as practicable, especially considering that we were expecting funds from the donors.
“I want to emphasise that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that the New Vision for the Niger Delta is faithfully executed, and the Ogoni clean-up is one of the critical component of the engagement. We’re told that the complete clean-up is one that may take a period of between 25 and 30 years. And this just shows the extent of the damage been done over decades in Ogoniland.”
Edun said $10 million had already been disbursed for the initial arrangements for the clean-up.
“With this signing, we’ll now commence the draw down process for $170million. The $170m will be provided imminently from the first tranche of the $1bn of the Ogoni clean-up funding that was recommended by the UNEP and was agreed by the authority. This is the first tranche and rest will come over the next few years,” he said.