Insecurity won’t impede Ogoni cleanup, says Dekil
Project Coordinator of the cleanup of Ogoni land, Dr. Marvin Dekil, told The Guardian that the inclusion of the National Security Adviser on HYPREP governing council, underscores the importance the Federal Government attaches to the security of the area.
To kick-start the cleanup, he said HYPREP is to carry out health impact assessment of Ogoniland to determine the level of intervention to be undertaken.
According to the coordinator, HYPREP is working with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and other stakeholders to ensure that insecurity does not jeopardise the multi-billion-naira cleanup.
Dekil explained that HYPREP had already set up a four-man committee for the purpose of water mapping of four Ogoni Local Government councils following UNEP findings that in at least 10 Ogoni communities, drinking water was contaminated with high levels of hydrocarbons.
It will be recalled that UNEP in its report which was submitted to the federal government in 2011, had stated that for instance, at Nisisioken Ogale, it was discovered that families have been drinking water from wells contaminated with benzene- a known carcinogen-at levels over 900 times above World Health Organisation guidelines.
Although the site where this was discovered is close to NNPC pipeline, UNEP had said detailed soil and groundwater contamination investigations were conducted at 69 sites noting that altogether more than 4,000 samples were analyzed, including water taken from 142 groundwater monitoring wells drilled specifically for the study and soil extracted from 780 boreholes.
The project Coordinator disclosed that HYPREP was in the process of training some Ogoni women as part of the sustainable livelihood programme for the
implementation of the UNEP report.