Port Harcourt — The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, has expressed worry over the spate of insecurity in Ogoniland, lamenting that some clean-up contractors have been unable to commence work due to insecurity.
To this end, HYPREP which is the agency saddled with the responsibility of remediating crude oil polluted sites in Ogoniland and restoration of livelihoods for the people of Ogoni is appealing to all warring factions to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
Speaking in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State during the sensitization and town hall meeting on Ogoni clean-up, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, reassured the people that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to clean-up the Ogoni environment and restore livelihoods of the people.
Dekil who explained that the clean-up project has consciously embedded youth engagement and empowerment as a critical component of the project, charged the youths of Ogoni to give peace a chance, support the clean-up project and take full advantage of all the opportunities that the project brings
He disclosed that 15 Ogoni youths have so far graduated from a three months training on the fabrication of cassava processing machines in IITA, Onne, adding that the process to train the next set of 400youths was at an advanced stage.
“You will recall that in January this year, we were here to present and handover to you the contractors who will be carrying out remediation works in your community. This visit would have been to inform you of the level of works achieved by the contractor working in your community, regrettably, we do not have any report to give.
“The reason for this is not far-fetched. The restiveness in the community affects people and activities in which the clean-up project is not an exception.
“Yesterday we were at Eleme where remediation works have fully commenced. Contractors have mobilized to site, equipment is on ground and work has fully commenced on most of the sites. Youths in their communities are engaged at different levels in each of those sites.
“As a project that touches lives and livelihood, HYPREP is deeply concerned that the contractors here have not been able to commence work on their sites because of insecurity.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of Khana Local Government Area, Barr. Lateh Loolo, who passed a vote of confidence on HYPREP, said the LGA would support HYPREP to ensure a peaceful environment for the clean-up.
Loolo who, however, blamed the increased spate of insecurity in the Local Government on poverty and joblessness among the Ogoni youths, appealed to HYPREP to carry-on inclusive developmental program for the youths.
“HYPREP is on top of their game and I am confident they will deliver their mandate. On our part, we will give you all the necessary support you will need to ensure this project is a success
“In doing that, what we want is more services for our people. Please initiate more developmental programs for our people, such as skill acquisition training, human capital development. I know there is no excuse for the crime but I tell you that you can’t find peace where people are hungry and jobs.
“Our youths should be trained and equipped to be prepared for the soon coming recommencement of oil exploration activities in Ogoniland.”