Minister of State Environment resigns

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibrin has resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Jibrin’s resignation letter was submitted to Buhari at the Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday.

His resignation followed his coronation as the 13th Emir of Nassarawa.

Speaking as he bid farewell to the cabinet, Jibrin noted three locations he visited as minister that would “remain indelible in my heart till the end of my life.”

According to him these were the devastation caused by insurgency in Northeast Nigeria, the environmental degradation in the Niger Delta and erosion challenges in Southeast.

He said his tour of the North East made him see the devastation of war in the region.

“I travelled from Maiduguri to Baga and I’ve seen from Maiduguri every part of the landscape, from left to right, up to Monguno to Baga, there was no village that was not destroyed.

“While we look at the consequences of war, we also have to look at the environmental impact, the long-term effect it would be on the life of people in those locations.

“Again, I was privileged to travel to Bama and I’ve seen an entire community destroyed just within the space of two days because of the madness of Boko Haram.

“Also in the North East, I was privileged to travel across four local governments in one day and I’ve seen the devastation of climate change; the issue of the sand dunes, moving southwards, covering villages, houses and places of livelihood.

“This has remained a permanent feature in my life because I’ve seen how helpless people could be and that has put a lot of stress on me to try to make a little difference,” he said

His visit to the creeks in the Niger Delta, he said, made him see the devastation there, particularly the oil spill in Forcadoes, Delta State in February 2016, where he visited with the former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed.

“I always say it to people that I’m used to seeing fish fried in vegetable oil but in the Niger Delta I’ve seen fish and crab that are fried in crude oil.

“This has made a lasting impact on my life and made me more determined to do the best I could.

“Of course, the instrument in our hand was the promise made by the president that the oil pollution in the Niger Delta would be cleaned,” he said

He said the Ogoni Clean-up, which was approved by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2011 was taken up with the support of Buhari.

“Today, we have moved this project to the point of giving letters of contract for the contractors who will do the remediation work.

“Tomorrow, the 13th of December, there will be a project meeting in Port Harcourt, where the contractors would be handed over their sites.”

He said 15 locations would be done in the first place, while five more that would be brought to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

He said tenders are being issued at present for 14 more lots, pointing out that it was progress from what the administration inherited.

The oil companies in the Niger Delta, he said, have released $180million dollars for the execution of the project.

“There are lots of speculations, but $170million is in the escrow account and the initial $10million that was given to us, $5milion is still in the account.”

Jibrin also spoke about the erosion problems in the South East, especially the incidents in Nanka and Agulu.

“This is a very serious devastating problem in the South East to the extent even satellite images could capture the image of Agulu and Nanka from space.

“Anambra State is just about 4000 square kilometers but it has over 900 active erosion sites.”

He lamented most state governments do not care about these environmental challenges, despite receiving ecological funds from the federation account every month.

Jibrin said President Buhari has shown commitment to issues of the environment since he assumed office and has attended three of the four conferences on climate change.

He said the President has signed more than four instruments of ratification, while two are waiting.

This, he said, has increased Nigeria’s profile in the global stage as far as the fight against climate change is concerned

The President, in a statement at the weekend, had saluted the people of Nasarawa Emirate and the State Government on the hitch-free exercise which led to the emergence of Jibrin as the 13th Emir.

Describing the new First Class traditional ruler as a “wise choice and worthy successor,” President Buhari averred Jibrin’s impeccable credentials as a distinguished public servant and land expert will be deployed to impact positively on development of his emirate.

The former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed had resigned in 2017 to take up United Nations job.

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