Posts

Ogoni Clean-up: FG committed to UNEP report implementation, says Minister

The Honorable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, has reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the full implementation of the recommendations in the United Nations Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland.

He said the Ogoni clean-up is a signature project, the first of its kind in Africa and the world with no existing template, while noting that HYPREP was developing one that would be used hereafter for the remediation of the rest of the Niger Delta.

Dr. Abubakar stated this during a working visit to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and some remediation sites across Ogoniland, and was received on arrival by the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil.

The Honorable Minister also paid a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty King G. N. K. Gininwa in his palace where he informed the King that the Ogoni clean-up is a pet project of President Buhari’s administration which is why the President constantly makes reference to the Ogoni clean-up project.

He said the Ogoni clean-up is a signature project, the first of its kind in Africa and the world with no existing template but rather HYPREP was developing one that would be used hereafter for the remediation of the rest of the Niger Delta.

The Honorable Minister assured the people of Ogoni that the Federal Government was not just concerned about remediating the environment but is also concerned about the well-being and economic life of the people.  He said “The Federal Government is aware that there are several other challenges you are facing as a result of the pollution.  That is why even though the core mandate of HYPREP is to remediate the land, other programs have been built into the Project to address some of these challenges.”

The traditional ruler appealed to the Minister for the inclusion of the Ogonis and to ensure that the people benefit fully from the clean-up project.

The Minister also attended the sensitization of women on the Livelihood program in Tai. He expressed satisfaction with the huge turnout of women for the program adding that it goes to show the seriousness of the women to key into the training programs to create economic activities for their financial empowerment.

Addressing the crowd at the event, Dr. Abubakar urged the women, men and youths to key into the various opportunities provided through the clean-up project to empower themselves to contribute to the economic growth of the kingdom.

Dr. Abubakar urged the people of Ogoni to be patient and ensure sustained peace during and after the project.  While expressing appreciation to the Royal Father, the Council of Chiefs the Youths of Ogoni, the Women, Opinion Leaders and others for their contributions to the success of the project, he appealed to the youths to desist from carrying out illegal bunkering and other activities that may negatively affect the environment.

Speaking with journalists during the inspection of some remediation sites, the Minister said with what he has seen, he has confirmed that remediation is going on across the various sites.  He said “I can say this is a big success for this administration, the people of Ogoni that I have talked to, the youths, women, elders they are happy with this and happy with Mr. President for keeping his promise to clean up Ogoni.”

“Let me say that this is something that is serious right from the start where we even have UNEP to do the assessment and follow through to ensure compliance with the recommendations.  This shows the commitment of the government; the commitment of the President and I believe every Nigerian not just the Ogonis should give this project a chance.  From what I have seen, the HYPREP team is doing a good job.”

On the issue of water, the Minister said HYPREP has gone beyond the provision of water in tankers, but was working to ensure the provision of a sustainable source of water not just in the impacted communities but to other communities in collaboration with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources.

He assured the people saying “we are following all the recommendations of UNEP and we all know when you are dealing with UN you must follow everything to the standard. The government has promised to use the UNEP Report to make sure the work is done according to the recommendations.  We are here to support the President’s commitment to the clean-up project, and I urge all of you to throw your weight behind HYPREP so that the dream of the President for a clean and healthy Ogoniland will be realized.”

Briefing the Minister, the Project Coordinator went through the various activities that HYPREP has carried out since inception.  He informed him that a total of 21 sites have been handed over to 21 contractors who were currently at different levels of remediation works while a joint team of HYPREP and UN are in the field to carry out reconnaissance in preparation for the commencement of the remediation of the complex sites.

Dekil added that the project has provided opportunities for training of Ogoni youths through the Livelihood Program, technical training for Scientific Officers who are all Ogonis in Nigeria and in Switzerland while arrangements for the training of 400 Ogoni women by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been concluded.

The Project Coordinator further informed the Minister that HYPREP had carried out two medical outreaches where 20,000 patients were treated, and 400 surgeries carried out.  He added that HYPREP was collaborating with Rivers State Ministries of Water Resources and Health for the provision of water and assessment of health facilities in the impacted communities in Ogoniland.

PHOTOS: Ongoing Ogoni Cleanup in Niger Delta

Pictures from Eleme LGA, one of the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland where the clean-up/ remediation exercise is ongoing.

It shows the process of transfering contaminated soil into Bio-cell for treatment at the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) Project Site, Lot 006, Nkeleoken, Alode, Eleme LGA in Ogoniland, Rivers State.

A total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the four Local Government Areas in Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai LGAs.

The Ogoni clean-up is part of the Buhari administration’s New Vision and underscores its commitment to a cleaner and better environment in the Niger Delta region.

It would be recalled that in June 2016, the Buhari administration started the process of implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. The Ogoni clean-up project is the first of its kind by a Nigerian government in the oil-rich Niger Delta environment that had been devastated by decades of oil spills.

Ogoni clean-up: UK commends HYPREP on remediation exercise

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).

Ogoni Clean-Up: HYPREP, Rivers State Ministry partner to provide potable water for Ogoniland

The Rivers State Government has given approval to a request by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP to re-activate state water facilities in Ogoniland as part of effort to provide potable water for Ogoni communities.

In a statement from HYPREP, the Rivers State Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku gave the approval to HYPREP when the Project Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil led a team of Management Staff to his office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Dekil informed the Commissioner and his team that HYPREP was set up with the mandate to remediate Ogoniland and provide sustainable livelihood for the people in line with UNEP Report, adding that in fulfilling this mandate HYPREP has a responsibility to provide potable water in the impacted communities as specified in the report.

The Project Coordinator said the visit was also to request for collaboration with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development in the provision of water in the impacted communities.  He said the request to collaborate with the Ministry was necessary to avoid duplication of projects.

Dr. Dekil explained that in the process of providing water in the impacted communities, HYPREP would need to access the existing water facilities towards rehabilitating them and also install new ones, in both cases he said, the technical expertise of the professionals in the Ministry will be needed especially as the initial facilities were installed by them.

The Project Coordinator assured the Commissioner that HYPREP projects were not at variance with the water policy of the Ministry which is community driven adding that every project of HYPREP was tailored towards community participation and ownership to ensure sustainability.

Prof. Ebeku commended the HYPREP Coordinator, for seeking collaboration with the State Government saying it will eliminate duplication of projects which would have amounted to waste of Government resources.  He called on other government agencies and development partners to emulate the HYPREP approach to project implementation.

The Commissioner assured Dr. Dekil of his full support and that of his team to the collaboration and said he will do everything within his power to fast track the process from the Ministry’s end to ensure that potable water is available in Ogoniland for the benefit of the people.

At the end of the meeting, a Committee comprising experts from the State Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development and HYPREP was set up to work on the modalities for the collaboration towards the provision of potable water for the impacted communities in Ogoniland.