“The governance structures that have been put in place, the opening of the Ogoni Trust Fund has been able to mobilise $180 million from the oil companies.”

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Federal Government yesterday announced that 21 firms are to mobilise to site in the next two weeks following the contribution of $180 million by major oil companies for the clean-up of the Ogoni oil spills and reclamation of the environment.

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The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril, said this while addressing State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to Jubril, the $180 million was currently domiciled in a special Escrow account with the Standard Chartered Bank of London.

He explained that the fund was raised from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and other joint venture companies and were being managed by the Board of Trustees of HYPREP (Hydro-Carbon Pollution Restoration Project).

“Currently, there is funding for the clean-up. But remember that this is the first time the government has done something. Because of the confidence the oil companies have in the government, the governance structures that have been put in place, the opening of the Ogoni Trust Fund has been able to mobilise $180 million from the oil companies.

“The funds came from NNPC, SPDC and other ventures. The $180 million is in the Escrow account with the Standard Chartered Bank of London and the Board of Trustees is managing it.

“So, as far as we are concerned, we can beat our chest and say that the Buhari administration has shown the way forward on this clean-up exercise and we hope and pray that the people, whom we are working for, will have cause to laugh and smile very soon,” he stated.

Jibril explained that the shortlisting of qualified companies which had been ongoing for a couple of weeks now, has been concluded and “I can confidently tell you that before the end of this month, in the next two weeks, there will be 21 companies that will be mobilised to site to start the work.”

He revealed that the Ministerial Tender Board sat a day earlier to consider the submission of the Procurement Department of HYPREP and 15 lots were up for grabs, which the Governing Council of the Ogoni Trust Fund will meet this Friday to ratify with the hope that the contractors will be mobilised to site next week or after.

“There are some other five lots. Because we are 21 in this first segment that are beyond the reach of the Ministerial Tender Board and the Governing Council, that one will go to FEC.

“We have already written to BPP for ‘no-objection’ and we hope to get the ‘no-objection’ hopefully by next week. So, the in next two weeks, those five lots will be presented to FEC for approval. So I can assure you that we are on course and there is no going back on the Ogoni clean-up,” he stated.

The minister further disclosed that the council approved a memo for the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol concerning the United Nations framework conventions on climate change.

“The Kyoto Protocol was crafted in 2004 and Nigeria is a party to that. The initial period of commitment of the protocol was from 2008-2012. The new segment now is from 2013-2020.

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“The essence of this protocol is to commit advanced countries or developed countries that are mostly industrialised and are at the forefront of the production of gaseous emission, which is harmful to the environment,” he said.

Jubril also listed the benefits that Nigeria stands to gain from the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol. He said, “first of all, once the amendment is ratified as we want it to be, there will be access to financial assistance, which will help in motivating and adapting to impact of climate change.

“Secondly, there will be access to technology and capacity building and there will also be networking with other nations and organisations who are more advanced and can be of help to us as a country. And lastly, continuation of flexible mechanisms and contribution to global efforts as no one country has the solution for this problem alone. So the idea is to team up and then get the developing countries to be assisted effectively.

“Certainly, it is in our own interest to get this agreement ratified, which we have done today and the next stage will be for the Attorney General to provide the instrument of ratification, which will be signed later by Mr. President and be deposited at the United Nations office in New York.”

Minister of the Interior, Abdurahman Dambazzau, on his part announced that FEC approved a contract of N272.4 million for the procurement of 400 pieces of Beretta assault rifles with 20,000 rounds of ammunition for Nigerian Prisons Service, towards preventing jailbreaks and strengthening maximum security prisons across the country.

He said the approval follows the discovery after the Minna jailbreak for which the prison officials were found to be helpless owing to lack of ammunition to counter these attacks.

He said, “Council approved a memo for the procurement of arms and ammunition for the armed guards of the prisons. As you know there is need to secure all our prisons particularly where we have inmates that require maximum security.

“If you recalled not too long ago our prison in Minna was attacked from the outside and freed some of the dangerous prisoners. So, the prison has an armed squad. We realize after investigation of that attack that one of the major shortcomings within that prison was lack of adequate arms and ammunition.

“We are procuring 400 pieces of Beretta assault rifles with 20,000 rounds. These rounds are peculiar to those weapons at the cost of N272,489,280 with period of delivery of 120 days.”

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the council awarded a contract for the procurement, installation and commissioning of Instrument Landing Systems to better guide aircraft pilots in bad weather and night at Kaduna, Abuja, Benin, Ibadan and Enugu airports.

He explained that the contract was first awarded in December 2011 for N1.5 billion but no financial provision was made for it. It has therefore now been re-awarded for N3.149 billion, in line with new foreign exchange rate.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced the approval of cost variation for Ilorin-Omuaran-Kabba road that was initially awarded for N13.541bn in 2013 but re-awarded now at a cost N29.95 billion, thus making a cost variation of N13.54 billion.

Also approved for the Ministry was a N14.01 billion contract for construction of the 73km stretch of road from Odukpani junction up Apet, in Cross River State. It is section of the expressway that extends Calabar-Itu to Ogoja and Gakem in the same State.

The Minister disclosed that there would be massive road construction across the country from now up till May next year in order to take advantage of the dry season.

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