Port Harcourt — The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, has described as a welcome development, the decision of the House of Representatives to launch an investigation into the contracts awarded by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, for the clean-up of Ogoniland, as well as the call for the freezing of its account.
The House of Representatives last Thursday passed a resolution calling for the freezing of the account of HYPREP, which is domiciled with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.
The lawmakers decision for the account to be frozen and full investigation into its status conducted, may not be unconnected with the controversy which the clean-up has been enmeshed in, as an online newspaper, Premium Times, recently published a report that showed how a majority of the companies contracted to handle the cleanup were not qualified.
Reacting to the development, the President of MOSOP, Mr Fegalo Nsuke, said “the manner in which the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration handles the Ogoni Cleanup contract scam will determine how seriously the government’s anti-corruption war will be taken by the world at large.”
Nsuke at a MOSOP general meeting in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, said the HYPREP scandal is test for the government of president Muhammadu Buhari and its claims to fighting corruption in the country.
He described HYPREP as a shame on President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade and should not be protected.
“We commend the federal lawmakers for ordering a restriction on the accounts of HYPREP and urged the legislators to match words with action by following up on the order and ensuring that the Ogoni cleanup thieves are brought to account.
“Last week’s detailed report by Premium Times which spelt out how HYPREP awarded contracts to companies that were not registered even at the time of pre-qualification assessment and the award of contracts worth billions of Naira to companies that have no experience at all in cleanup activity, was a shame on President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade and should not be protected.
Nsuke called for the dissolution of the Governing Council of HYPREP which took the decisions and demanded a probe into the activities of HYPREP. He noted that the public will be shocked at the level of financial mismanagement that has taken place in HYPREP.
“Though MOSOP is not completely surprised at the scandal given that at the time the contracts were awarded, one of the members of the HYPREP governing council was battling with an integrity problem following corruption investigations with the EFCC for bribery and financial mismanagement of MOSOP funds and has not been able to defend himself even though external pressures appear to have compelled the EFCC to halt investigations.
“We therefore, demand that a thorough investigation into the corruption in HYPREP is inevitable not just to save the Ogoni cleanup program but to rescue the dwindling image of the president Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade,” Nsuke said.