Government ready for immediate Ogoni cleanup, says agency
• Group faults choice of youths for overseas training
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has pledged Federal Government’s commitment to immediately begin the cleanup of Ogoniland.
The agency’s Head, Project Coordination, Marvin Dekil, who gave the assurance yesterday at Bodo and K-Dere communities in Gokana Local Council of Rivers State during an enlightenment campaign, noted: “The project is owned by the Federal Government. We need to inform you that the government is ready now to clean up Ogoni and that is why we are reaching out to the communities to sensitise them.”
He went on: “We are about to commence work. We will be visiting the entire site soon. We will be bringing in companies soon with their technology to test what they can do. But, we have not awarded them the job. Anything they do now is from their own money. We will be carrying out training for women, youths and those with requisite knowledge in specialised areas.”
Dekil pledged that members of the communities would be carried along, adding that good water and other amenities captured in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report are to be made available for the well-being of the people.
“This is your project. No land will be left unattended and we will respect your community and cultural boundaries. We are here to do a thorough job for Ogoni people.
“We will bring people who will examine the drinking water you have here. We will bring people who will visit all the sites to take record so that we commence within next one month,” Dekil pledged.
He further said: “We are here to hear your mind. This is a project for Ogoni people. In this, you don’t seek to participate because you are the owners of the project. The government designed the programme to include environmental remediation; that is, to how to restore the economic life of your people that has been dislocated.
“In the project, provision of water and healthcare is important. We will bring experts all over the world, including Rivers State Ministry of Health to know the health impact of the people and provide treatment where needed.”
Meanwhile, a group, Save Our Ogoni Project, has accused Dekil of bias in the selection of youths for overseas training.
In a statement yesterday by its coordinator, Anthony Aalo, the group claimed that the entire exercise was not inclusive and appeared driven by a particular political party.