FG commences Health Situation Analysis/Data Collection Activity with Flag-off of Free Medical Outreach in Ogoni

FG commences Health Situation Analysis/Data Collection Activity with Flag-off of Free Medical Outreach in Ogoni

The Environmental Assessment Report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the state of the Ogoni environment among other things recommends the health situation analysis of residents exposed to hydrocarbon pollution to ascertain the effects of oil pollution on the health of the people.

Pursuant to this, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar was in Bori the Headquarters of Khana to flag-off the free medical outreach put together by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland to collect health situation data as well as treat people suffering some health challenges.

Performing the flag-off at the General Hospital in Bori, Dr. Abubakar said the on-going restructuring of HYPREP had ensured a steady speed in 2021 by bringing on stream other key recommendations and mandates of the UNEP Report”.

The Honourable Minister reeled out the achievements recorded in the last few months to include; the commencement of Phase 1 Contract for the provision of potable water in Ogoni communities, flag-off of the training of five thousand Ogoni youths for sustainable alternative livelihood, opening of Public Health Inventory, opening of bids for Environmental Surveillance and Construction of Centre of Excellence for Environmental Studies/Remediation, consultancy for the Environmental Surveillance and construction of the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management.

Dr. Abubakar disclosed that the cleanup is gaining momentum following the completion of eighteen out of the twenty-one lots in the Phase 1 Batch 1 contracts, while five lots in Batch 2 have been completed and undergoing NOSDRA certification process.

On the training of the five thousand youths in alternative livelihood skills, the Honourable Minister revealed that the training will be based on their desired choice of occupation and not an imposition by HYPREP thus giving the youths engaged in artisanal refining the opportunity to turn a new leaf from the hazardous and illegal activity of artisanal refining.

The Honourable Minister during the commissioning of the HYPREP Local Government Area Office added that the Federal Government is bringing the project closer to the people of Ogoniand as a commitment to the implementation of UNEP Report with the involvement of Ogoni people’.
He disclosed that HYPREP is constructing area offices across the four LGAs in Ogoniland.

He assured the Ogoni people of standard work on the ongoing water project being undertaken in the phase 1 of the provision of potable water for Ogoni communities and water schemes located at ori/Kpea Water Scheme in Khana Local Government Area, Barako/B-Dere/K-Dere Water Scheme in Gokana Local Government Area, Korokoro/Nonwa Water Scheme in Tai LGA, Alesa, Alesa Water Scheme in Eleme Local Government Area and Ebubu/ Nsisioken/Ogale Water Scheme also in Eleme LGA.

Dr. Abubakar further disclosed that complex and semi-complex impacted sites in which groundwater remediation is required have been advertised for prequalification of companies and the bids opened to select competent companies for the work.FG commences Health Situation Analysis/Data Collection Activity with Flag-off of Free Medical Outreach in Ogoni

As part of measures to restore the damaged mangrove vegetation, the Honourable Minister for Environment announced the constitution of a joint team comprising professionals from Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the International Oil Companies (IOC’s), the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), KAGOTE and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to undertake a pre-shoreline clean-up technique assessment of the mangrove sites damaged by artisanal refining. The measure, he said is in line with UNEP’s recommendation to stop re-pollution of remediated sites. According to him ‘the stoppage of re-pollution from oil spills and discharges is the pre-condition for clean-up of such areas that are liable to re-pollution, otherwise, it will be an exercise in futility.’ He appealed to community leaders and youths to be vanguards against artisanal refining and crude oil theft that constitute a major threat to the clean-up goal and reiterated the commitment of the President to seeing Ogoni clean after the clean-up.

Earlier in his remarks, Professor Philip Shekwolo, the Acting Project Coordinator of HYPREP stated that the health situation analysis and data collection is one of the important programmes in the implementation of the UNEP Report and commended Ogoni youths on their support for HYPREP.

Other activities carried out by the Honourable Minister was the commissioning of the HYPREP Area Office in Bori, flag-off of training of five hundred Ogoni youths in Basic Remediation Techniques and HSE and the inspection of the ongoing water scheme in Alesa, Eleme LGA.

In the company of the Honourable Minister for Environment were the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agbah, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Babayo Ardo, other members of the Governing Council, Chairman BoT, Dr. Mike Nwielaghi, Chairmen of the four LGAs in Ogoni among other dignitaries.

Ekaete Umo
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