The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Gill Atkinson says she is elated at the level of work done so far in the ongoing clean-up of Ogoniland in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP Report on the Ogoni environment.
Gill stated this when she led some officials of the High Commission on a working visit to some sites in Ogoniland being remediated by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP. She said, “It is really good to see some strong progress happening here and genuine implementation of the project which has taken time to plan, but as we can see, there is a real productive work going on now. Congratulations to them for work well done”.
She gave assurance of Britain’s support politically and also offering long term expert support for the project through the Department for International Development (DFID).
The Project Coordinator, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Barinem Dekil while briefing the British Deputy High Commissoner on the progress of work, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to implementing the recommendations in the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) Report to the letter in the Ogoni clean-up project.
He said HYPREP has carried out several engagements with various stakeholders at the community level to get their buy-in to enable them take ownership of the project. He added that the sensitization provided a platform for HYPREP to harvest ideas and suggestions from the people which have yielded positive results.
“The project is enjoying full support from the traditional rulers, youth groups and women groups in all the communities that the clean-up is currently taking place”.
He explained that the bio-remediation option adopted by HYPREP for the clean-up is a slow process but the most effective. He informed the Deputy High Commissioner that a total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni.
The HYPREP Coordinator also said that the Project has provided huge employment opportunities for youths of Ogoni while business opportunities have also sprung up as a result of the ripple effect of activities in the communities. He disclosed that HYPREP had gone into partnerships with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources to be able to provide water to more communities in Ogoniland; Rivers State Ministry of Health to carry out assessment of all medical facilities in Ogoniland; the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) to provide training to Ogoni youths under the Sustainable Livelihood Program.
The Deputy High Commissioner and her team were later led by Dr. Dekil to pay a courtesy visit to the King of Eleme Kingdom, Emere Philip Obele in his palace where she was decorated and conferred with the title of Egbere Owa Ekoo, Eko of Eleme (Big woman and friend of Eleme Kingdom).