17 December 2013, Abuja – Following the report of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on the degradation of Ogoniland by oil companies, the federal government is set for the cleaning up of devastated areas through the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) domiciled in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
According to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the ministry had launched the execution of eight emergency measures with material and logistic support from the Bayelsa State Government, some local governments and communities in Rivers State, and a number of corporate organisations.
In preparation for the clean up, the project officials also held stakeholders meetings across Ogoniland including a consultative meeting with the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni.
The restoration steps already taken included mounting of advocacy signage, provision of drinking water tanks across Ogoniland, development of a medical registry, sourcing of water testing and air pollution facilities and conclusion of clean up work plan and formation of work groups.
Others include donation of lands for Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration and the Proposed Integrated Soil Management Centre (ISMC), gathering of commercial and technical information for the detailed design of the clean-up plan and a socio-economic study for the development of a livelihood strategy for Ogoniland.
Aside the seven steps already taken, the project also created Emergency Call Centres, commenced discussion with Johns Hopkins University on epidemiological studies, development of curriculum on environmental hazards , public awareness to highlight the dangers of artisanal refining activities and crude oil theft.
The statement noted further that the restoration project had been repositioned, the technical working groups established in line with UNEP recommendations and a timely conclusion of all ongoing emergency measures ahead of the implementation of the various programmes and projects.
The UNEP report had made a number of recommendations to the federal government which include establishement of HYPEP governance structure,creation of operational guidelines, preparation of a detailed work plan and implementation of certain emergency measures to ensure a seamless transition from the submission of the report to the commencement of full scale cleanup of hydrocarbon contamination.
It would be recalled that restoration project established in July 2012 was tasked with the responsibilities of investigating and evaluating all hydrocarbon polluted communities and sites in Nigeria; restoration of all affected communities and sites impacted by hydrocarbon pollution in Nigeria; and implementation of the actionable recommendations of the UNEP Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland.
– This Day