Port Harcourt — Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria have expressed their readiness to collaborate with the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to ensure a successful clean-up of oil impacted sites in Ogoniland.
The CSOs while on inspection of polluted sites undergoing remediation by HYPREP in Eleme and Tai Local Government Areas of Rivers State, said they were not disappointed with progress of work done.
At some of the sites, biocells have been set up, while the contaminated soil are being transferred to the treatment cells, whereas an Eko-grid electrolytic technology using cathodes and anodes with the aide of electricity, was used in the remediation of one of the sites.
Speaking, the Project Officer, Energy and Climate Change, ERA/FoEN, Mr Kentebe Ebiaridor, tasked HYPREP to carryout more of community engagement with the impacted communities, to ensure a smooth cleanup process.
Ebiaridor explained that the CSOs insisted to visit the cleanup sites and access the sites by themselves, in order to have a first-hand knowledge of the situation with Ogoni cleanup.
He also advised HYPREP to make known of the challenges facing the project, so they (CSOs) can champion the challenges to ensure the clean-up exercise is successful.
“We insisted that we must visit HYPREP cleanup sites for us to ascertain what is happening. We have been to the field with HYPREP, we have gone to several sites although I wasn’t myself at some of the sites, because the level of pollution I saw there affected my breath.
“But then, we have seen for ourselves that work is onging, it may be slow but something is actually going on. It is said that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step and I think the steps so far is in the right direction.
“HYPREP may not be as we all expected it to be, but we will put our hands together to ensure that HYPREP gets to where we all wants it to be. We want HYPREP to succeed with what they are doing, they may be slow and we are willing to join hands with them to ensure that the process move faster
“I will not completely pass a vote of confidence on HYPREP because the project is an ongoing process, we can only do that when 80percent of the work has been done, which is likely to take 2-5years.
“My advice to HYPREP is that, there should be more community engagement with with community people, and more interaction with the civil society groups and if they have any challenge they should discuss with the CSO, so we can champion those challenges for them and see how we can get the best out of this.”
Also speaking, a representative of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, commended HYPREP for the level of job done at most of the polluted sites.
“We never believed HYPREP has gone up to this level, we were one of those agitating to see what HYPREP is doing and the level they have gone. I am not applauding them but I must commend them for what we have seen on ground,” CISLAC said.
For his part, Communication Officer , HYPREP, Mr. Kpoobari Nafo, assured that the people of Ogoni that HYPREP was doing a quality work by following UNEP guidelines, in order to ensure the cleanup is done to the best international standards.
“We had to take members of the CSO around the cleanup sites to see for themselves what we are doing. We are not relenting in our efforts as a project.
“Against the insinuations in some quarters that HYPREP is only talking on the media, you can see for yourself that HYPREP is actually working in Ogoniland and we are currently at the remediation level and as you can see from the different sites which we have visited.”