Mohammed Abdullahi, the minister of the environment, has been called before the Joint Committee on Host Communities of the National Assembly once more to discuss the progress of the Ogoniland Cleanup Project.
Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, chairman of the joint committee, issued the instruction on Tuesday in Abuja during a discussion with the project’s management committee and the Ministry of the Environment.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), just the minister’s agent, Mr. Charles Ikeah, attended the hearing rather than the minister or the permanent secretary.
Degi-Eremienyo expressed her displeasure over the minister’s lack of attendance at the meeting, stating, “We had extended the invitation to the minister, who is the chairman of the governing council on Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), but he has failed to appear before the committee.
The HYPREP project coordinator was also invited. However, he did not show up for the committee.
“This invitation has been extended before. He ought to have informed me or the permanent secretary before today if he won’t be able to attend this meeting, he said.
The meeting’s chairman declared that he saw their absence as both a minor and significant level of irresponsibility.
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“I utterly express my anger; I sneer at the minister’s and the project coordinator’s attitude in continually showing disrespect for the institution of the parliament.
“They ignored our invitations to engage with the parliament roughly three times in total.
“To me, it appears like information is being withheld to prevent us from carrying out our responsibilities as a parliament and overseeing HYPREP’s operations effectively.
Additionally, he continued, “it exhibits the appearance of insensitivity, poor governance, and incompetence.
Nevertheless, the legislator praised the Federal Government for coming up with the notion as a follow-up to the UN report on the cleanup of Ogoniland.
“The Niger-Delta degradation and pollution tale are an old one, but it never gets old. Since the situation and experience in the Niger Delta are ongoing, it is always new. It is regrettable.
“The people of the Niger Delta place great importance on this initiative. It is an experimental project that is intended to be reproduced in other regions of the Niger Delta, but it appears that things are not going as planned.
As the committee’s chairman, he added, “It is on that basis that I also endorse and support the motion that the Minister and of course the Project Coordinator and the Management Team of the Project be summoned to appear before this Joint Committee.”
Rep. Dumnamene Dekor, the chairman of the House Committee on Host Communities, spoke at the forum and expressed sadness over the minister’s absence.
“The project and program design are also given a light touch.
The absence of the project coordinator is alarming. The populace should be aware that those who remain in and near the Niger Delta continue to suffer as we summon them.
Almost six years have passed, and nothing is happening, according to Dekor. “This project took off because President Muhammadu Buhari felt it should take off; that the suffering of the people will be alleviated.