‘National Assembly should oversee Ogoni clean-up process’
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) yesterday enjoined the National Assembly to exercise its powers of oversight on the Ogoni clean-up process.
ERA/FoEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, who spoke with journalists in Abuja, expressed concern that three and half years after President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the Ogoni clean-up process, there are signs that the project may fail if remedial actions are not taken.
The ERA/FoEN chief, who observed that contractors procured for the clean-up exercise lacked the capacity to achieve the objective, said that key deliverables in critical areas, such as transparency, accountability and local participation, had not been clearly articulated let alone achieved.
Ojo said that the immediate intervention of the National Assembly would save the country from wasting billions of naira at this early stage and also halt the drift of the hydrocarbon pollution remediation project (HYPREP).towards the fate of similar laudable interventions in the Niger Delta that ended up in private pockets.
He, therefore, urged the lawmakers to adopt the HYPREP gazette and rework it with appropriate modification and pass it into law to provide backing with independent status. Arguing that the measure will ensure a more robust and legally binding supervision of HYPREP, he urged early release of the $600 million due to it by 2020.
The group maintained that HYPREP had failed to demonstrate capacity to spend the monies so far appropriated for the clean-up exercise, warning that if urgent and decisive action is not taken to refocus HYPREP, it may become another white elephant intervention in the Niger Delta region.
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