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Buhari Approves Ogoni Clean Up

-Promises to strengthen NYSC Scheme

In keeping with his pledge to work for the development and well-being of all Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja approved several actions to fast-track the long delayed implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland.

This is just as the President also pledged that his administration will take all necessary actions to maintain and improve the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said President Buhari’s order on Ogoni land is based on recommendations to him by the Executive Director of UNEP, the UNEP Special Representative for Ogoniland, Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources, and other stakeholders, include the amendment of the Official Gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to reflect a new governance framework comprising a Governing Council, a Board of Trustees and Project Management.

The President further approved the HYPREP Governing Council which was reconstituted to include one Representative each of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and the Impacted States (Rivers).

Others include four representatives of the Oil Companies and NNPC, two representatives of Ogoniland, one representative of the United Nations System, while the Secretariat will be headed by Project Manager. The President also approved the composition of a Board of Trustees for the HYPREP Trust Fund to include One representative each of the Federal Government, the NNPC, the International Oil Companies, Ogoniland and the United Nations System.

The statement noted that “Following a meeting held on the directive of President Buhari, it was also agreed that a contribution deposit of $10 million will be made by stakeholders within 30 days of the appointment of members of the Board of Trustees for the Trust Fund who will be responsible for collecting and managing funds from contributors and donors”.

“A new implementation template has also been evolved at the instance of President Buhari, and the environmental clean-up of Ogoniland will commence in earnest with the President’s inauguration of the HYPREP Governing Council and the Board of Trustees for the Trust Fund”.

President Muhammadu Buhari also yesterday pledged that his administration’s resolve to maintain and improve the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.

President Buhari gave the assurance after receiving a briefing from officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta.

The President affirmed his confidence and trust in the programme, saying that the objective for which the scheme was established in 1973 was still very relevant for national development now.

“I firmly believe in NYSC and I think it should remain a national programme to promote integration. “Whenever I go home to Daura, I look out for Corps members from Lagos, Aba and other parts of the country.

“I am always thrilled to learn that except for the NYSC, some of them have never left their states of origin to visit other cities in the country,” President Buhari said.

Mrs. Jimeta told the President that the increasing number of NYSC participants posed a challenge to the scheme due to the dwindling revenue, from the national budget, to cater for their needs. She told the President that the annual enrolment of corps participants had increased from 2,364 at inception in 1974 to 229,016 in 2014.

– Tony Ailemen, Abuja

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