Port Harcourt — The Federal Government has assured stakeholders and residents of oil impacted Ogoni ethnic nationality of Rivers State that no part of the fund paid for the remediation process would be diverted for any other use.
The Federal Government also assured that the money so far paid for the process was intact in a designated account, adding that Ogoni Trust Fund had been incorporated.
Minister of State for Environment, who is also the chairman, Governing Council of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, Mr Ibrahim Jibril, spoke in Port Harcourt at the 2nd stakeholders meeting on the implementation of United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report on Ogoniland clean-up organised by Federal Ministry of Environment through HYPREP.
Jibril, who was represented by Dr. Ishaku Mohammed noted that funding had been an area of concern, but stated that significant achievements had been made.
He said: "Funding is the area of concern. We have opened an escrow account. We assure that the money for the project is sacrosanct for the project and will not be diverted for other uses. The structure of the process is formidable that no single member or individual can withdraw anything without going through due process."
Meanwhile, President of KAGOTE and member of Board of Trustees, HYPREP, Dr. Peter Medee, has disclosed that the board had successfully opened an account with a foreign bank, adding that this would guarantee security of funds for the project.
He said: "The Ogoni Trust Fund has been incorporated. Two Ogoni citizens are trustees of the fund. Ogoni can use the fund without interference from the Federal Government and it is done in such a way that change in administration will not affect the project.
"No part of the fund for the clean-up is missing. We have received the fund from international oil companies, IOCs, led by Shell. The first part of the money had been received and is now in the Ogoni Trust Fund. An Ogoni son is one of the three signatories to the account.
"We have successfully opened an account with Standard Chartered Bank of London. We are now sure that the fund is secure."