President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP’s recommendations for the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers State and other parts of Niger Delta, which had been polluted by oil spillage.
Speaking during a visit to the United Nations Office in the Kenyan capital, President Buhari called on the body to give more support for administration’s efforts to clean up the region.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said: “When I came into office on 29th May 2015, one of the first tasks I carried out was to authorize the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) for the clean-up of Ogoni land.
“The devastation caused by oil spillage has destroyed many lives and livelihoods and is clearly one of the reasons why many people in that region lost faith in government and resorted to the many criminal activities we are seeing in the region today.
“The action our government took to implement UNEP’s recommendations has given the indigenes of the region hope that there are better days ahead.
“Let me, therefore, express appreciation on behalf of the Government of Nigeria to UNEP and other development partners for their cooperation and support on this very delicate matter and also request for their continued support as we implement the recommendations and transform the fortunes of the region”.
He also seized the opportunity of the visit to applaud the outcome of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was held in Paris in December last year.
“The commitments agreed in Paris will clearly benefit Nigeria and many African nations adversely impacted by climate change. We therefore look forward to their fulfillment and implementation.
“As the UN Office in Nairobi gears up to host the 2nd session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) this year under the auspices of UNEP, I would like to take this opportunity to further pledge Nigeria’s commitment to this very worthy cause of having a safe, secure and clean planet”, Buhari said.
Before leaving the United Nations Office, President Buhari undertook the symbolic planting of a tree, a tradition reserved for all visiting Heads of State and Government.