By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja appealed to leaders of Ogoni land to be patient, promising that with the involvement of the international community, their environment will be sanitised soon.
Buhari made this pledge while receiving a delegation of Ogoni leaders on the aegis of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers and elected leaders of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) at the State House.
According to the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, the delegation also included the academia, women, community and religious leaders.
According to Adesina, the president said the challenge of infrastructure in Ogoni-land would have been long resolved with more focus and commitment to improving the lives of the people, but for the award and re-awarding of contracts without implementation.
He said the president urged the leaders to prevail on their youths and sensitise their communities more on the benefits of the clean-up process, especially with the involvement of the international community.
The statement also said the president noted that the degradation of the environment over the years had undermined the economy of Ogoni people, adding that commercial farming and fishing will pick up after the restoration.
“We are working hard to change the situation. I know that if we had power in the country, many Nigerians will create and face their businesses,’’ he was further quoted.
It also said the president assured Nigerians that the country’s resources would be retained and utilised for the benefit of all citizens, with a strong focus on infrastructure.
“We will not abuse the trust. What belongs to Nigeria stays in Nigeria and will be utilised by Nigerians,’’ the president reportedly added.
According to the statement, the leader of the delegation, His Royal Majesty King GNK Ogininwa, in his remarks, commended the president for restoring security and the economy and called for more federal government attention on the plight of the people of Ogoni-land.
“Through you, Mr President, we will achieve great things in Ogoni-land,’’ Ogininwa said.
Adesina also said Ogininwa conferred the title of “Meni-Doo-Lenu,” meaning the “the King of Doing Good Things in Ogoni-land,” on the president.
He also said a member of the delegation, Prof. Walter Ollor, presented a list of the needs of Ogoni people including a national recognition for the Ogoni 12, which included Ken Saro-Wiwa, improved security and establishment of a Centre for Environmental Excellence.