By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro
The Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the Federal Government to make the N6 billon water projects being undertaken by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) public.
In a Press statement by Mr. Mike Karikpo, Porgrammes Director, ERA/FoEN on Tuesday in Benin City, said the move would enable “local Communities, Civic groups and international Community monitor and evaluate the success of this very important and people-oriented aspect of the project adequately”.
He said it welcome the announcement that the federal executive council has approved over N6 billion to ensure the provision of clean portable water for Ogoni Communities in River State.
The remedial measures as recommended in the UNEP Ogoni Environmental Assessment report, according to the global right clean-up, would help HYPREP to pursue and redeem the goodwill of the people and time that had been lost by HYPREP due to lack of transparency and accountability.
Similarly, the executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, has urge the newly inaugurated Governing Council and Board of Trustees for HYPREP set up by the federal Government, to establish Centre of excellence for the Ogoni clean-up.
President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a 13-member Governing Council and a 10-member Board of Trustees of the Ogoni Trust Fund on Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) on Friday, March 12, 2021.
Ojo who disclosed this in a Press release on Tuesday in Benin City, Edo State Capital, called for a more inconclusive and participatory project design and implementation process to ward against the short comings experienced in the last four years.
According to him, “It is critical that there is community and civil society participation in drawing up a short-term and long-term Workplans, Key Performance Indicators and milestones for the next five years of the project. Any progress from the clean-up should be seen in the scope and quality of environmental remediation and recovery, improvement in the fishing and farming occupations and livelihoods of the Ogonis.”
The executive Director, lamented the slow pace of the clean-up and faulty procurement process are key areas that the present crop of managers should urgently address”.
Ojo, also stated that the new managers should also “ensure that the major pillar of the clean-up process which is the establishment of the Centre of Excellence to provide capacity building for HYPREP staff and the Ogonis, and document lessons learnt for the replication of the clean-up in the entire polluted Niger Delta is restored”.
But, Ojo further demanded for complete overhaul of the HYPREP structure because of the lack of synergy between the operations of HYPREP and the UNEP report titled: “No Cleanup, No Justice”, issued in 2020 by ERA/FoEN and its partners, Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Amnesty International and Community groups, recommendations on the one hand as well as the needs of local Communities in Ogoni on the other.
ERA, also accused the agency of derailing the goals and objectives set out in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Ogoni environmental Assessment report of 2011, leading to unnecessary delay and poor remediation work due to some unqualified contractors.