01 February 2019, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, on Friday announced that it would set up an office in Port Harcourt, to monitor the progress of the ongoing implementation of its report on the environmental impact study in Ogoniland.
UNEP representative, Mr. Mike Cowing, stated this when he led a UNEP delegation in conjunction with the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to the palace of the Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, HRM King Godwin Giniwa, in Korokoro, Tai LGA of Rivers State.
Cowing announced that the office would be set up in March, shortly after the country’s general election, which would be manned by both nationals and international staff.
He said they would be partnering as well as training HYPREP staff for a period of 12 months both in Nigeria and in Europe on methodology in the field and to ensure that the recommendations they made in the Report in 2011 are successfully implemented.
“We will supervise training and monitor the clean-up to enable the implementation of the report to the later.
“We will establish UNEP office in Port Harcourt in March, after elections. We will be monitoring, partnering and training of HYPREP staff both here in Nigeria and in Europe on how to monitor the clean-up.
“Wherever there is a need, UNEP will be assisting HYPREP, we will be bringing in a team of water and soil sediment scientists and public health specialists to complement and supplement the expertise already in HYPREP.
“It is going to be a joint initiative between the two entities to make sure the contaminated sites of Ogoniland are remediated to a desirable standard
“We are also looking forward to partnering with the communities to ensure the clean-up is successful.”
Also, the Project Coordinator, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, who reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the clean-up, said the second coming of UNEP into the project would ensure that all that they recommended is successfully implemented.
“They (UNEP) are going to carry out high-level training. And I can assure you that the federal government’s commitment to the Ogoni clean-up is unwavering.
“We are soliciting the support of youths, women, and the entire community leadership to ensure the project is successful.”
For his part the Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, HRM King Godwin Giniwa, commended UNEP for the comprehensive assessment it carried out in Ogoniland, saying the report alone was enough to solve the problem between communities and oil companies.
Giniwa, also thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for his commitment to the Ogoni clean-up, while regretting that former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he described as his son, delayed the implementation of the UNEP Report.
He advised the youths of Ogoni to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the exercise, especially as they will be the major beneficiaries of the clean-up.
“I invited Buhari and handed over the UNEP Report to him, asking him to implement it if he wins the 2015 elections.
“I will also appeal to UNEP that in the process of implementing the report, they should ensure Ogoni people benefit from it.
“The United Nations has always stood by the people of Ogoni, even all through the Ogoni struggle. Therefore the benefits of the clean-up should not be a matter of APC and PDP but should benefit everybody.
“On our part, we assure you of peace and harmony throughout the clean-up and please ensure that HYPREP carries out your report to the later.”