08 July 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Ken Saro Wiwa Associates has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the $10 million initially released in August 2017 by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, joint venture to HYPREP for the commencement of Ogoni clean up.
The group has also called for the immediate sack of the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril and the Governing Council of HYPREP for lack of accountability and a failure to provide potable water for Ogoni people and bring the clean-up project up to speed.
The National Coordinator of the group, Chief Gani Topba, in a letter to the President said the $10 Million, was from a total of $200 million yearly contributions, agreed upon by the fund contributors to the HYPREP Governing Council headed by the Minister of Environment.
Topba explained that since HYPREP’s Governing Council acknowledged receipt of the money, Ogoni people have asked a lot of questions about what the money has been used for.
He lamented that there have been several allegations from stakeholders in Ogoniland that the money may have been illegally diverted by members of the Governing Council or misappropriated.
“Up till date, HYPREP’s Governing Council has not been able to provide an integrated clean water supply system, create a Remedial Action Plan, agree on Remedial Target Methodologies and ultimately set the Remedial Target Value to know the desired end of the remediation with the Ogoni people and other stakeholders.
“Nothing significant has been done in Ogoniland in respect of the core mandate of the Council. Ogoni people have severally asked the Council to account for the money but the only response that has emanated from the Council has been bare and evasive denials.
“The Ogoni people request the Federal Government to set up a panel that would investigate the expenditure of the initial US $10 million given to HYPREP and until satisfactory answers are given, further funding should cease.
“The Ogoni people request the, Your Excellency, to sack the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril and the Governing Council of HYPREP for lack of accountability and failure to provide clean potable water for the Ogoni people and bring the clean-up project up to speed.
“The Ogoni people request the Federal Government to urgently provide clean and available portable water to the Ogoni people, using the Ogoni Integrated Water Scheme Model that was designed by the Israeli experts, Reynolds Construction Company Limited, RCC, and was adopted by Her Excellency, Amina J. Mohammed during her time as the Honourable Minister for Environment, without further delay.”
Gani who is also a frontline activist and environmentalist in the Niger Delta called on the Federal Government to urgently relocate the project and operational office of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) from Port Harcourt to Ogoniland for local impact.
He urged the Federal Government to give a special consideration and concession to Ogoni contractors in the course of the clean-up, as well as appeal to the Government to create an enabling environment for the express implementation of the Ogoni Cleanup project, devoid of bureaucratic and legislative bottlenecks and uninhibited by budgetary procedures and cycles.
“Facilities that are hundred times larger than where they (HYPREP) are currently hosted in Port Harcourt exist at the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic premises, Kira (Saakpenwa), headquarters of Tai Local Government Council.
“This world-class facility that is not in use by the institution presently would enhance the economy of Ogoniland as banks and other allied institutions would take advantage of the security outfit (MOPOL 56 Barack) stationed opposite the school to foster investment and economic opportunities in Ogoniland.
“The Ogoni people request the Federal Government to collaborate with the Rivers State Government and Ogoni leaders to upgrade the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic campus in Kira, to Ken Saro-Wiwa Environment University, a specialized university that would incorporate the Centre of Excellence and Integrated Soil Management Centre, prescribed by the UNEP Report with project offices and residences.
“The Ogoni nation parades an array of some of the most technically competent and professional manpower in Nigeria that is needed for the clean-up project and should be given the right of first refusal as well as partnership equity between 51-80percent. Jobs can be given to contractors outside Ogoniland where there is a major specialized capacity gap, as obtainable in the global petroleum industry.”