Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) said it wants the newly inaugurated Governing Council and Board of Trustees for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to establish a centre of excellence that will build the capacity and skills of the youths in Ogoniland.
The Federal Government of Nigeria recently inaugurated a new Governing Council and Board of Trustees for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
ERA/FoEN in a statement said it “welcomes this decision of the Federal Government to listen to genuine voices of our people and groups monitoring the cleanup process. ERA/FoEN hopes that sufficient consultation was carried out before the new governing council and board of trustee members were appointed.
“However, ERA/FoeEN expects that these members have the capacity and expertise to oversee a complex and multifaceted undertaking like the Ogoni cleanup process.
“The new board and the governing council should avoid any potential conflict of interests in the award of clean up contracts and procurement process that has been a major issue bisecting the cleanup process.”
According to Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), “the federal government environmental legacy project in the last four years has been a story of misplaced priorities, politicized clean up, the personal interest of board members overriding the interest of delivering a world-class cleanup process and the critical need to save the lives of our people affected by environmental devastation.
The slow pace of the clean-up and faulty procurement process are key areas that the present crop of managers should urgently address.”
Further, Ojo stated that the new managers should also “ensure that the major pillar of the clean-up process which is the establishment of the Centre of Excellence to provide capacity building for HYPREP staff and the Ogonis, and document lessons learnt for the replication of the clean-up in the entire polluted Niger Delta is restored.”
According to ERA/FoEN, the establishment of the Centre of Excellence was sidelined in the past four years thereby shortchanging the Ogonis of the opportunity to build the capacity and skills of the youths.