Senate committee expresses mixed feelings over Ogoni remediation project

Lorine Emenike

The Senate Committee on Ecology and climate change has admonished the management and operational staff of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to rev up publicity of the rudiments involved in the implementation of the cleanup exercise to enhance citizens knowledge.

Senator Hassan Mohammed Nassiah Guzo, the senate committee chairman advised HYPREP to increase such publicity for a proper understanding of the processes involved in the remediation.

Senator Guzo representing Zamfara Central made this call while on a-two-day oversight function visit to Ogoniland with members of National Assembly on Ecology and Climate Change which includes Senator Musa Mohammed Pali, Adekunle Adebunmi, Hon. Musa Mohammed, Princess Mirrian Omeoha, and Benjamin Okezie Kalu.

According to him, “there should be enough publicity in society so that people will be educated and understand the type of project you people are carrying out. Also, a lot of money is been put in while the project is not moving fast”

He advised that the pace of the cleanup exercise be increased, to meet with the estimated year the cleanup exercise is expected to end.

On her part, Princess Mirian, House of Rep member representing Mbano advised HYPREP to be factual in their processes.

Also, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, member representing Bende Constituency said ” I want to refer to the key thing that necessitated this project, the Ogoni people live with this pollution every minute of the day and since the average life expectancy of Nigerians is 50 years, it is a pre-assumption that most members of the Ogoni land community have lived with oil pollution throughout their lives, so therefor, according to UNEP report, in this remediation process there is no clear monitoring and evaluation plan or even understanding what to monitor”

On his part, Dr. Marvin Barinem Dekil, Project Coordinator of HYPREP said so far, out of 29 lots (impacted sites) 5 lots have been completed.

He listed the seven sites to include Oboolu Ebube, Nkeleonken 5/Alode, Mogbo Deben, Bara Akpor Botem, Korokoro Buemene.

He also said that the sites are now undergoing certification by NOSDRA while other complex sites (groundwater remediation) will be completed soon.

He also disclosed that mobilization of the second batch of the cleanup exercise has commenced with 36 lots to be remediated.

While lauding President Buhari for the approval and commencement of the Ogoni land cleanup exercise, he noted that the exercise is novel and said the cleanup process has provided jobs for 700 Ogoni youths in the first phase of the cleanup exercise and 800 youths have also been engaged in the 2nd batch.

Also, he said that about four hundred Ogoni women have been empowered as well as livelihood and health support has been given to the people.