Port Harcourt — A group known as Ogoni Youth Federation, OYF, has accused the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP of refusing to end artisanal refining in Ogoniland as a prerequisite for clean-up recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.
The President-General of OYF, Legborsi Yamaabana, said UNEP recommended that all sources of ongoing contamination, including artisanal refining, should be stopped before the clean-up project.
Meanwhile, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, has continually cautioned youths of Ogoni against acts capable of re-polluting Ogoniland, such as illegal bunkering and refining of petroleum products.
But Yamaabana said it was unimaginable for HYPREP to commence Ogoni clean-up, while pollution is still ongoing in Ogoniland through the acts of oil theft, illegal refining and vandalism.
The OYF leader said over three years after the flag-off of Ogoni cleanup, the process which HYPREP is using in the implementation of the UNEP reports, runs counter to the assurances given by the Federal Government during the flagged-off and the recommendations in the UNEP Report.
He regretted that if HYPREP had followed UNEP recommendations, the issue of black soot in the state would have been reduced, as
“As condition precedent, UNEP recommended that all sources of ongoing contamination, including artisanal refining, should be brought to a swift end before the clean-up project, and for that purpose, the sum of $10million was recommended for the provison of alternative employment for those in artisanal refining. (See pages 13 and 227 UNEP Report).
“We consider it very sad and barbaric that, not only has nothing been done about any of the recommendations of UNEP but also HYPREP is doing everything to sabotage the cleanup project.
“In the report, UNEP censure artisanal refining as one of the causes of contamination in Ogoniland and we can not decipher how HYPREP could claim that they are cleaning impacted sites in Ogoni, alongside illegal oil refining (kpo fire). This is unimaginable.
“Artisanal refining has been adjudged as the most significant cause of soot, if HYPREP had implemented the said recommendation, the issue of black soot could have been brought to the bearest minimum in Rivers State.
“We fervently urge President Buhari to address these issues in order to save lives, the environment and to ensure that the cleanup project is not delivered dead in arrival,” Ogoni Youths Federation said.
Meanwhile, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, has cautioned youths of Ogoni against acts capable of re-polluting Ogoniland, such as illegal bunkering and refining of petroleum products.
HYPREP Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, called on the leadership of MOSOP, KAGOTE and other Ogoni leaders to warn Ogoni youth, saying it will be regrettable if Ogoniland is re-polluted by illegal refiners, after so much resources has been invested for remediation.
He called for the cooperation and understanding of Ogoni people to enable the Project deliver on its mandate, while urging the people to limit their expectation of HYPREP to only those deliverables that are contained in the UNEP Report.
According to him, “Another area that we expect you to assist us to deliver on our mandate is the issue of re-pollution.
“Our effort to clean Ogoniland will amount to nothing if after investing so much resources and time to remediate the land it is again re-polluted by the activities of illegal bunkering and refining.
“As leadership of MOSOP and that of the local communities you have got to dissuade the youths from these very poisonous activities to health, environment and the economy, so that whence Ogoniland is cleaned it will remain clean for us and future generations.”
The HYPREP boss reaffirmed that every recommendations of UNEP on Ogoniland was now an emergency, assuring that everything will happen simultaneously with the clean-up process.