The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari said implementation of a clean-up recommendation from UNEP has given hope to people of Niger Delta whose land has been damaged by crude oil spillage.
Speaking at the United Nations Office at Nairobi today the Nigerian President said one of his first tasks when he assumed power in May last year was authorizing the UNEP recommendation of cleaning up Niger Delta where the ecological land of the Niger Delta region has been significantly damaged by crude oil spillage.
“The devastation caused by this spillage has destroyed lives and livelihoods and it’s clearly a driver for the reason why many people of that region have lost faith in Government resorting to many criminal activities we are seeing in the region today. The action our Government took to implement the UNEP recommendations has given the indigenous people of the region hope that there are better days ahead,” said the Buhari who is on a three day state visit to Kenya.
On arrival, the leader of Africa's most populous nation was received by the UNON Director General, Sahle-Work Zewde, inspected a Guard of Honour and was introduced to senior members of the UN family, including the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos.
Following a tradition established at this headquarters to mark the visit of dignitaries, the President planted a tree on the 140 acres compound.
UN Staff and accredited diplomats then crammed themselves into a medium-sized conference room to listen to a short address by the Head of State. In his remarks, President Buhari noted that since his ascension to President, he has taken heed of UN recommendations on the clean up of the environmentally challenged Ogoni Land.
His visit coincided with an on-going Model United Nations simulation consisting of over 800 students from 47 schools in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Responding to an informal invitation from the students, the President adjusted his programme and walked into the Conference room where he received an explosion of applause as delegates craned their necks to get a glimpse of the Head of State.
Following an introduction to the Model UN Nigerian delegation, the President was escorted by Secretary General of Middle School UN Model, Matthew Yun and his Deputy, Hashil Shah to the podium where he made brief remarks.
Reacting to the unexpected visit, delegate Krish Joshi remarked that "it was very fun the first time I met the President. He was tall, smart and kind."