Port Harcourt — The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development has urged Ogoni communities to put measures in place to address the menace of artisanal refining by youth groups in their respective communities, in order to address the challenges of re-polluting the Ogoni environment.
The group also charged the Federal Government and the various structures supervising HYPREP to free the project from civil service bureaucracies, in order to enable it perform the interventionist roles and responsibilities it was set up for.
Executive Director of Centre LSD, Monday Osasah, said whereas the Ministry of Environment and HYPREP are supposed to handle the clean-up of Ogoniland as a humanitarian intervention and made to enjoy some waivers, the project was being subjected to the bureaucracies of goverOgoni clean-upnment, thus putting a lull in the clean-up process.
Osasah also charged HYPREP to review its livelihood programme to cover not only human capital development, but to also include social, physical, financial and natural development.
He said: “Government and the various structures managing and supervising HYPREP should work to ensure that it is freed from the bureaucracies associated with the civil service so it can perform the interventionıst roles and
responsibilities allotted to it by the gazette establishing it.
“Though HYPREP has trained some artisanal refiners on ivelıhood initiatives, the community seems not to put measures in place to address the menace of artisanal refining by youth groups in the communities to address the challenges of re-pollution.
“The incidences of security operatives allegedly aiding the process is also worrisome.
“In line with the recommendation of the UNEP, HYPREP should prioritise the establishment of the proposed Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre and Centre of Excellence to facilitate the creation of sustainable jobs and proper management of hazardous wastes generated from the clean-up exercise.
“HYPREP should make public its key performance indicators (KPIs) to facilitate independent monitoring of its work. In addition, it should grant approval to credible and responsible groups who are interested in monitoring the clean-up process, to ascertain the level of work done so far.”
The group also urged impacted communities to show ownership of the exercise by getting more involved and participating effectively in the cleanup process, while calling on the HYPREP’s CRAC team to ensure that conflicts emanatung from communities are dealt with expeditiously.
“Civil society organisations should build their capacities more on the issues and assist with capacity development to advance the clean up.”