Ogoni clean up: Eleme Assembly berates HYPREP over slow pace

By Brave Dickson

The O-E’La Bor Eleme which is the General Assembly of Eleme People, worldwide says the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) is too slow in the cleaning up of oil impacted sites in Ogoni land as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

The President-General of E’La Bor Eleme, Chief Israel Abbey who dropped the hint in an interview with our correspondent said HYPREP has not justified the billions of naira, it has received with its result on the Ogoni clean up.

Chief Abbey who also pushed for more time to be given to HYPREP to see if it will perform well said, “I was told that a very concrete arrangement has been put in place that will help to coordinate the clean up process. We have so far attended several meetings and were told that some billions of naira have been paid into the account of HYPREP.

“We were told that by the United Nations standard that the under ground and surface water has been contaminated and that emergency provision should be put in place to address this issue immediately but not much of that is coming.

“I have seen HYPREP coming around some couple of times to carry out medical outreach which was successful in Eleme here. It has gone ahead to do some testing and mobilized contractors to site but the impact is not felt at all.

“I think HYPREP has to do a bit more to justify the amount of money it told us has been entrusted into its hands for the project. Maybe HYPREP may need some time or so but we need to see some actions that will lead to something very concrete in the longer term.”

It would be recalled that a major independent scientific assessment, carried out by UNEP, showed that pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in Ogoni land had penetrated further and deeper beyond imagination.

Detailed soil and groundwater contamination investigations were conducted at 69 sites leading to more than 4,000 samples being analyzed, including water taken from 142 groundwater for the study and soil extracted from 780 boreholes.

In its findings, some areas, which appeared unaffected at the surface were in reality severely contaminated underground upon which UNEP recommended an immediate action to protect human health and reduce the risks of affected communities.

At least drinking water in 10 Ogoni communities with high levels of hydrocarbons are under serious public health threat, adding that the work will require the deployment of modern technology to clean up contaminated land and water, improved environmental monitoring and regulation among others.