An umbrella Organisation of Ogoni youth known as Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), has accused the management of the Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation Project, (HYPREP) of aiding black soot in Rivers State and of using the Federal Government as a cover-up to sabotage the Ogoni clean-up process.
The President-General of OYF, Comrade Legborsi Yamaabana, who spoke to journalists at Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni Nation, said more than three years after the flag-off of the Ogoni cleanup project, the manner and processes which the managers of HYPREP is using for the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, otherwise known as UNEP Report run completely counter to the assurances given by the Federal Government during the flagged-off and more importantly, the very recommendations of the UNEP Report.
Yamaabana noted that the recommendations of UNEP to alleviate the plight of the Ogoni people and the rest of the Niger Delta Region have been flawed.
“As a condition precedent, UNEP recommended that all sources of ongoing contamination, including artisanal refining, should be brought to a swift end before the clean-up project, and for that purpose, the sum of $10million was recommended for the provision of alternative employment for those in artisanal refining. (See pages 13 and 227 UNEP Report).
“We consider it very sad and barbaric that, not only has nothing been done about any of the recommendations of UNEP but also HYPREP is doing everything to sabotage the cleanup project.
“In the pages of the report, UNEP censure artisanal refining as one of the causes of contamination in Ogoniland and we can not decipher how HYPREP could claim that they are cleaning impacted sites in Ogoni, alongside illegal oil refining (kpo fire). This is unimaginable!
“Artisanal refining has been adjudged as the most significant cause of soot. If HYPREP had implemented the said recommendation, the issue of black soot could have been brought to the barest minimum in Rivers State.
“We fervently urge President Buhari to address these issues in order to save lives, the environment and to ensure that the cleanup project is not delivered dead in arrival,” he said.