$10m: Judge’s absence again stalls OYF suit against HYPREP

Kelechi Kas
The absence of Justice E.O. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Thursday 21st November 2019, again, stalled the hearing of a case instituted by the Ogoni People through the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF) against the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Federal Ministry of Environment and others.

The suit which initially came up on 29th October 2019 could not be heard as counsels to the defendants were not present in court.

The presiding Judge had adjourned to November 7th for the defendants to open their defence.

The Ogoni youth federation in October 2018 filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, against the federal Ministry of Environment and Hydrocarbon pollution remediation project. (HYPREP)

The applicants in the suit requested information from the 2nd defendant under the freedom of information act but were denied access to the information.

They are challenging the “massive financial misappropriation, non-adherence to the recommendations of UNEP report”.

The applicants in the suit said the refusal by the 2nd defendant to provide the requested information are unconscionable, unwarranted and constitutes an excessive abuse of the exercise of powers granted to the 2nd defendant which is an institution that owes accountability to the public.

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The applicants also requested information on how the $10, 000, 000. 00 (Ten million Dollars) initially released as take-off grant for the Ogoni clean up was spent and a list of all the persons that benefited from the said medical outreach, containing their full names and ailments.

President Ogoni youth federation, Legborsi Yamaabana, said HYPREP should stop playing politics with the lives of Ogoni people and clean up Ogoniland.

“We are in court because we are peaceful youths who do want to carry arms, that is why we seek Judicial review to press home our demands for accountability.

“The cleanup money does not belong to any individual or agency, but the money is for the Ogoni people and Ogoni environment, so we the youths will not sit down and fold our hands and watch the funds being misappropriated”

“The suffering of Ogoni people can no longer be exploited by some opportunists and experts in strategic deception whose prime interest is the seIf-appropriation of funds meant for Ogoni cleanup exercise.

“No amount of intimidation will coerce us into supporting the stinking house of corruption and fraud known as and called HYPREP”.

The matter has been rescheduled for December 2nd, 2019.