By Okon Okon
Abuja – The United Kingdom has pledged to partner with the Federal government in efforts to clean Ogoni area in the Niger Delta and tackle other environmental challenges across the country.
Ms. Lavie Beaufils, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, conveyed the pledge on Monday in Abuja when she paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril.
Beaufils said that the British government had resolved to assist Nigeria in Ogoni clean-up efforts, ocean protection and green finances.
She noted that many countries, including Nigeria, were facing some environmental challenges, adding that UK was ready to assist Nigeria in efforts to deal with the challenges.
The envoy said that her visit was aimed at discussing the way forward with the minister and proffer solutions to some of the environmental challenges facing Nigeria.
Beaufils, however, expressed concern over the flooding ravaging parts of the country and underscored the need to find long-term solutions to it.
Responding, Jibril thanked the envoy and the British Government for the intervention, which was aimed at addressing the environmental challenges facing the country.
He noted that Nigeria was a huge country facing the brunt of different climatic elements.
“As we are all aware, climate change is a global challenge and Nigeria is not left out; and our country is mostly affected by the vagaries of its dry and wet seasons.
“The coastal region is mostly affected by the flood, while the northern parts of the country usually experience desert encroachment, particularly during the dry season.
“The country is faced with a lot of environmental challenges which include erosion, desertification, land degradation, among others,’’ he said.
While commending the British Government for the partnership, the minister briefed the high commissioner about the measures which President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had put in place to facilitate the clean-up of the Ogoni area.
He conceded that the Ogoni clean-up was a major challenge facing the administration, saying that the clean-up might take a longer period of time due to the technical approaches involved in the exercise.
“The Ogoni clean-up is another major issue faced by the present administration because of the level of destructions caused over a long period of time by oil spillage.
“We remain focused and determined to carry out the exercise to ensure that we achieve global best practices,’’ he said.
Jibril said that the Federal Government had put in place measures, which involved the mobilisation of technical experts and foreign experts, to address the environmental issue.