Port Harcourt — Ogoni youths have alleged that activities of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, are shrouded in secrecy, citing bureaucratic and political interference in the operations of the Project.
The youths under the auspices of Ogoni Youths Federation, OYF and the National Youth Council of Ogoni People, NYCOP, said the quest to restore the Ogoni environment was prompted by the struggles of the Ogoni people and, therefore must not be seen as a favour.
President-General of OYF, Engr. Legborsi Yamaabana, and President of NYCOP, Dr. Young Nkpah, in a joint press briefing in Port Harcourt, maintained that any fund allocated for the Ogoni environmental restoration must be channelled exclusively to it and not diverted in any guise.
They also threw their weight behind the Federal Government’s planned restructuring of HYPREP.
“The ugly trend of bureaucratic and political interference have crept into the operations of HYPREP as the agency is operated in cult-like secrecy.
“According to Wikipedia, transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in other social contexts, is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. Transparency implies openness, communication, and accountability. This is not the case at HYPREP
“The current Minister for Environment has made promises to restructure the agency. We have made our position on the planned restructuring of HYPREP known, as published on the national dailies.
“The quest to restore the Ogoni environment was principally prompted by the struggles of the Ogoni people and must not be seen as a favour.
“Thus, every important intervention effort must strictly address Ogoni issues, be it social or technical. Any fund allocated for the Ogoni environmental restoration must be channeled exclusively to it and not diverted in any guise or predetermined outcome.”
The Ogoni youths also stated that they were shocked to know that there was no legal framework nor Act of the National Assembly backing the establishment of HYPREP.
“There have been several issues bordering on transparency and accountability between the Ogoni people and HYPREP management that culminated in a lawsuit, which was struck out of court on technical grounds on July 16, 2020.
“The judgement came as a rude shock as the learned judge declared that HYPREP was not known to law.”