Court grants order to ensure HYPREP complies with Ogoni cleanup report
Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted an order for leave to apply for judicial review compelling the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project(HYPREP) to perform the public duty of the cleanup and remediation of Ogoniland in compliance with the law.
The court gave the declaration in respect of a matter brought before it, in an application with the suit marked: FHC/PH/CS/4/2022 by the Incorporated Trustees of the Ogoni Developmental Employment and Industrialisation Initiative for an order of mandamus compelling HYPREP and five others to perform the public duty cast upon them.
Kagbara Popnen, lead counsel for the applicant, yesterday, said the motion ex parte brought before the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt was for HYPREP to keep to the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni in respect of the cleanup and remediation of oil-impacted sites.
Popnen expressed delight over the ruling, saying it was sad that since 2016 when the cleanup and remediation process started, HYPREP and its contractors ignored all global best practices and standards in performing its statutory duty.
Chairman, Rivers Indigenous NGOs and Civil Society Network (RINGOCS), Tombari Dumka-Kote, while hailing the decision of the court, regretted that all emergency measures as contained in the UNEP report had been relegated by the agency as Ogoni communities still drink from polluted streams and wells six years after the flag-off of the remediation and cleanup of Ogoni by the Federal Government.
Dumka-Kote chided the agency for neglecting the plight of Ogoni communities, saying more Ogoni men, women, and children have died from drinking polluted water, and other illnesses arising from HYPREP neglect of the emergency measures provided in the report; and awarding remediation contract to inexperienced and unqualified contracting firms against the recommendations of UNEP.
He said the civil society community in the state would not close its eyes to the misdeeds of the agency concerning Ogoni cleanup and remediation of the polluted and devastated Niger Delta region.