Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has been charged to take ownership of the ongoing Ogoni cleanup project, for the betterment of the people of the state which he governs.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, who gave the charge at a CSOs Strategy Meeting in Port Harcourt, said politicians in the Niger Delta should not compromised the well-being of the people because of politics.
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, emphasized the need for a specific role of the Rivers State Government in the Ogoni cleanup project, in order to help drive the project successfully.
Beyond the federal government, Musa wondered what roles the Rivers State government have played in ensuring the sustainability of the gains of the remediation project, or in the provision of potable drinking water.
“We however cannot be allowing the people who are adversely affected by this to be groaning in pains. People of Ogoni can still not breathe, we call on the governor of Rivers State to own this project.
“We recently dispatched the scorecard on this project to the liaison office in Abuja and it was returned. We think this is resulting to cheap politics.
“Politicians in the Niger Delta must change tactics, they must not compromised the lives of people in the Niger Delta because of politics. What kind of politics are you playing that you are undermining the well-being of your people?”
CISLAC stated that the claim by HYPREP that it has achieved 70percent completion of the cleanup project was hasty and largely premature, as different stakeholders including the Federal Ministry of Environment have admitted that the process has been slow.
He said claim was a deliberate attempt by HYPREP to distract stakeholders from the focus of the clean-up, as HYPREP must respond to certain questions, in order to ascertain the substance of the 70percent completion.
“For over three years of HYPREP’s operation, has there been an independent monitoring of the clean-up process? If yes by which organization?
Are there plans for the acclaimed completed sites? Could HYPREP publish such plans for the acclaimed completed sites?
“The key performance indicators (KPI) is an indispensable tool in the monitoring of remediation projects. Does HYPREP has one? If yes, could it be accessed in the public domain to enable independent probing of contractors?
“HYPREP contracted 21 lots, and 6 of these are said to be completed. Does it mean that those 6 lots constitute 70% of the phase 1 lots?
Could HYPREP produce the laboratory results of the six lots it claimed to have completed remediation works?”
Similarly, a lecturer at the Department of Marine Environment and Pollution Control, Nigeria Maritime Academy, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Dr. Kabari Sam, wondered why the project was suffering delays and bottlenecks, when HYPREP was not lacking funds.
Sam also urged UNEP to make public their perception of the 70percent completion claim by HYPREP, as well as civil society organizations to provide project management capacity skills for HYPREP, to help the remediation process.
“UNEP has provided some capacity building for the project for the last one year. Can HYPREP publish UNEP’s perception of their success?
Is there a blueprint for livelihood restoration that covers all facets of stakeholders and impacted communities in Ogoniland?
“Three years into project implementation, when would water be provided in impacted communities. Does HYPREP have a blueprint for addressing re-pollution from un-serviced assets and artisanal refining activities?”