The Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Barinem Dekil has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to implementing the recommendations in the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) Report to the letter, in the Ogoni clean-up project.
Dr. Dekil said this when he received the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Gil Atkinson and her team, in the HYPREP office. Briefing the visiting team, the Project Coordinator explained the processes adopted by HYPREP in the remediation of the impacted sites.
He added that the sensitisation exercise, provided a platform for HYPREP to harvest ideas and suggestions from the community people which have yielded positive results. Today, he added, the project is enjoying full support from the traditional rulers, youth groups and women groups in all the communities, that the clean-up is currently taking place.
Dekil explained that the bio-remediation option adopted by HYPREP for the clean-up is a slow process but the most effective. He informed the Deputy High Commissioner that a total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni.
The HYPREP Coordinator also said that the Project has provided huge employment opportunities for youths of Ogoni, while business opportunities have also sprung up as a result of the ripple effect of activities in the communities.
He disclosed that HYPREP had gone into partnership with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources in order to provide water to more communities in Ogoniland, Rivers State Ministry of Health on its part, was to carry out assessment of all medical facilities in Ogoniland, while the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) are to provide training to Ogoni youths, under the Sustainable Livelihood Program.
The Deputy High Commissioner who was taken on a tour of some of the remediation sites, appealed to the people of Ogoni to be patient. “This is such fundamentally important work to the people of Eleme and wider Ogoni. It is important that this work is done properly and to a high standard and the people understand that to get the cleaning process right will take time” she said.
On her assessment of what she has seen, Ms. Atkinson said “it is really good to see some strong progress happening here and genuine implementation of the project which has taken time to plan, but as we can see, there is a real productive work going on now. Congratulations to them for work well done”.
She gave assurance of Britain’s support politically and also, offered long term expert support for the project through the Department for International Development (DFID).
The Deputy High Commissioner and her team, led by Dr. Dekil, paid a courtesy visit to the King of Eleme Kingdom, Enere Philip Obele, in his palace where she was decorated and conferred with the title of EgbereOwaEkoo, Eko of Eleme (Big woman and friend of Eleme Kingdom).
Assistant Director/Head Information (HYPREP)