Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar
The Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation has lamented that work is yet to commence almost two months after the Federal Government pledged water projects in Ogoniland, as part of its efforts to implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report. It said months after the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar unveiled the N6.7b water facility in Bori, Khana Council of Rivers State, with assurance of its speedy execution of the project, nothing was on ground to show that the project would begin any time soon.
Abubakar had on March 22, 2021 at the ceremony, noted that the UNEP report strongly recommended water as a crucial requirement, stressing that executing the project will ignite the hope of the people and make it a great achievements of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
However, disappointed by the current situation in the area, Senior Programme Officer of the foundation, Adeose Adams, while addressing commuters in Mogho, Gokana Council of the state yesterday charged the Federal Government to expedite action in the Ogoni cleanup process for the people to have access to a healthy environment.
Adams, who presented a drama titled: Environmental Refugees, explained that the event was organised to stir up government’s response to the cleanup of oil polluted Ogoniland, saying that the Ogoni environment had been polluted for so long, which is an injustice to them.
Also speaking, Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said the event was a summary of environmental issues in Ogoniland and demanded environmental justice for the people, adding: “The cleanup is not done according to the recommendation of the UNEP that the cleanup should begin with the provision of water.
“The water project and the cleanup are just a media show, because Ogoni people still lack water and their environment still polluted.”
They should also address the livelihood issues of youths involved in artisanal refining, so that they don’t continue polluting the environment while the cleanup is ongoing.
Speaking, Paramount Ruler of Mogho Community, Chief Stephen Kpea and Chairman, Bodo Council of Chiefs, Chief Emma Pii, lamented that the cleanup process was not being implemented according to recommendations of the UNEP report.
They said the report states that the cleanup process should commence from provision of emergency measures, which include provision of potable water, healthcare facilities, alternative livelihoods for the people, building of centre of excellence and integrated contaminated soil management centre, which according to them, were all not in place, “but HYPREP has commenced the cleanup by providing the emergency measures”.
Also speaking, representative of Gokana Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dumle Maol, canvassed a law to back the setting up HYPREP, adding that without a legislative backing, subsequent governments could easily scrap HYPREP thereby halting the cleanup exercise.