Ogoni clean-up: NASS fumes as Environment Minister, Abdullahi snubs invitation

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The National Assembly Joint Committee on Host Communities, Wednesday, condemned the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, for failing to appear before it to explain the state of the Ogoni land clean-up project.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Host Communities, Senator Bio Degi- Eremienyo, disclosed this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the repeated failure of the Minister to honour the invitations of the Joint Committee.

“The decision reached by the Senate and the House of Representatives Joint Committee was to the effect that the Minister has to be summoned.

“I don’t think he has any choice than to turn up for the engagement because it is for the interest of the people that we represent and there’s no reason why the Minister will refuse to respond to the invitation as important as invitation that has to do with the hydrocarbon pollution remediation program in Niger Delta Ogoni clean up,” he said.

He regretted that this week’s failure by the Minister of Environment to appear before the National Assembly Joint Committee was not the first time he was snobbing the Panel, warning that the Committee would no longer tolerate the disrespect.

In his words, “As a matter of fact, this is not the first or second time the Minister was refusing to answer our call or invitation, the Senators and the Honourable members as members of the Committee are not happy about it”.

Considering the level of environmental degradation suffered by the people in the Niger Delta, the Senator said the clean-up done so far to improve on the condition of the region was not yet satisfactory.

He, however, affirmed that they were making the needed effort to achieve significant result in pollution control and cleaner environment in Niger Delta.

He expressed optimism that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act by the National Assembly, significant result would be achieved in addressing the environmental problems in Niger Delta.

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The lawmaker added, “Well, I will not say that there’s no improvement but the improvement is not satisfactory. We are making progress and I hope that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act by the Parliament, it is expected that there will be significant result in the activities of pollution control and to achieve cleaner environment in Niger Delta which is the expectation based on the content of the PIA”.

The Committee meeting was suspended till further notice due to the absence of some of the invitees, including the Minister and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment.

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