Port Harcourt — The National Assembly Joint Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, has urged contractors handling the projects for the remediation of polluted sites in Ogoniland, to expedite action in delivering a thorough job.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, Sen. Hassan Mohammed Gusau, gave the charge when he led the joint committee on inspection of the cleanup sites in Ogoniland.
Gusau, who noted that the remediation process requires much technicalities which should not be rushed, however, urged contractors to be serious and stop making excuses.
He disclosed that his committee had received many petitions from stakeholders and NGOs about the activities of HYPREP concerning the Ogoni clean up, and having seen for himself, believed the project is on course, although he cannot give an expert opinion as a non professional.
Said he : “The NGOs and communities are all complaining about the way and manner the job is going. But I have observed that it is a technical work, it is not a job that somebody should rush on. If care is not taken, money can be spent and it will not yield any benefit.
“So to say, the work is done well because I am not a professional but mere seeing I can understand that they are on course. If we can give them time, I am sure a good job can be done.
“I recommend that the contractors be serious, and up to date because they were given six months and most of them have spent one year and they have not finish the job and they are also giving their own excuses which are not really obtainable.
“But I am sure with our presence and the way and manner we move, will motivate them and I’m sure they will adjust. I am appealing to them to speed action because the money is there lying, what is the need to keep money waiting? The money is there for the job.”
Earlier, the Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, urged the National Assembly to support the project, especially since it was the first time such project was been carried out in Nigeria.
“This project, according to UNEP, is the largest remediation job currently undertaken by any government in the world.
“The cleanup of Ogoniland is the beginning of the cleanup of the Niger Delta, in fulfillment to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, to address the environmental challenges of the region.”
Also, the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action, Dr. Godwin Ojo, said discussions was ongoing for a legislative backing, that 20 percent of Ogoni cleanup funds go into empowerment of Ogoni people who have been impacted by pollution.
“We are in discussion with expert committees at the National Assembly to see how we can use legislative backing to rejig the amount that goes to remediation, and the amount that goes for livelihood.
“ERA is recommending that 20 percent of the remediation fund should go to direct empowerment, to address rural poverty of people who have been impacted by pollution.”