Port Harcourt — The Ogoni Development Drive says the people of Ogoniland must be made to feel the impact of the ongoing clean-up of crude oil impacted sites in the area, adding that the ancillary benefits of the project should be made to reach the remotest part of the land.
The group gave the charge in Port Harcourt following the appointment by the Federal Government of a geologist, Dr Ferdinand Giadom, as the new Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, overseeing the cleanup of the oil spills in Ogoniland.
Convener of Ogoni Development Drive, Mr Solomon Lenu, who gave the charge, congratulated Dr Giadom on his appointment, but warned that the group will not fail to fight the coordinator if he fails to meet the expectations of Ogoni people.
He explained that the people of Ogoni want to see the clean-up project change the area for the better in line with the recommendations of the United Nation Environmental Programme, UNEP.
“We want to use this medium to inform the newly appointed Project Coordinator that Ogonis have an expectation from this project because of the quantum sacrifice they made to bring about this project, Ogoni Development Drive will not hesitate to demonstrate on all fronts if we do not see genuine people’s orientated programmes and tangible projects,” he said.
He added: “We did not only protest for an Ogoni son or daughter to be appointed PC but also to enshrine corruption-free sustainable development, transparency, and effective leadership at HYPREP.
“Ogonis must feel the impact of this project to the remotest part of the land because the heat and the stereotyping from the Ogoni struggle back then affected everyone, hence the ancillary benefits should also go round to all.
“We understand that the environment must be cleaned, but beyond cleaning the environment is the issue of improving the livelihood of the people. This is because of the symbiotic relationship between man and his environment, which has made it impossible to annex one from the other.
“The current HYPREP management should make a concerted effort to look into the livelihood programmes with honesty as recommended in the design of this project because if that is not done, the people will continue to pose a threat to the environment and the environment a threat to the people.
This is not what we want, therefore; there should be a sincere renaissance to this aspect of the project as we proceed.”
The group further said it did not fight for the removal of the former HYPREP boss for ethnicity sake, but because they were pained by what he described as “injustice, neglect and manipulation against Ogoni people.”
“The new HYPREP Coordinator must justify our clamour by setting an unbeatable record and precedence that will be difficult to vacate in the near future as far as environmental remediation work is concerned.
“We want to use this medium to correct an erroneous notion about the Ogoni man that we love fighting ourselves, we do not just fight for the fun of it, after all, there is no pleasure on the battlefield, but look closely whenever you find Ogoni man fighting, for beneath the surface there must be a clear case of injustice.
“And because we are a distinct group of people who are allergic to oppression because we have lived so long with it, and as a people whom God has elected to champion the course of justice amongst the black race, that is why our name is synonymous to struggles for justice. We, therefore, urge every Ogoni man to take pride in every genuine struggle,” he further said.
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