…Says stop antagonizing HYPREP
MON, MARCH 02 2020-theG&BJournal- Friends of Niger Delta Ecological Initiative, FONDEI, has expressed regret on what it calls ‘’the barrage of actions’’ by some highly placed politicians and their associates to needlessly criticise, antagonize and distract the officials of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) from carrying out the project’s objectives of identifying and remedying negatively impacted environment of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
‘’Quite sadly, FONDEI is surprised and shocked that all manner of darts are being shot at the leadership of HYPREP with the single purpose of forcing the project to derail from its objectives as articulated in the UNEP Report which is the ground rule book for the project,’’ FONDEI said in a press statement made available to theG&BJournal Monday.
FONDEI recalled that the journey of restoring the severely impacted soil, groundwater and general environment of Ogoniland from the activities of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation is one that has been tortuous right from its conceptualisation to date, adding, “it is one development that quickly brings to mind sad memories of the earliest advocate and promoter, late Ken Saro-Wiwa of blessed memory.”
It also noted that for decades, successive Nigerian governments paid lip service to the need to restore the previously pristine land, water and environment of Ogoniland prior to crude oil and gas exploration and production in the area.
‘’Happily, the present federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari decided to fulfil the promise it made that the Ogoni clean-up based on the United Nation Environmental Programme Report (UNEP) would be implemented.’’
FONDEI say they believe that all stakeholders would have seized the rare moment to make the project a reality especially after the difficult planning and preliminary stages had been overcome and actual clean-up underway.
‘’Despite the world class approach to the project which the ‘’fantastic combined team of UNEP’’, Governing Council, Board of Trustees and Project Coordination Office under the Project Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, an accomplished technocrat and son of the soil have religiously stuck to, some stakeholders appear to prefer that the exacting standards and focus of the project and those driving it should be lowered and deviated from for reasons that will amount to breaching the objective of the project. This has resulted to scathing, caustic and wild attacks against the project especially the Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil. His only offence seems to be his being a stickler to good corporate governance and adherence to laid down rules.’’
FONDEI said that understand that no well-meaning stakeholder should mull the idea that HYPREP derails from its objectives and go the way of most projects and programmes in the region and country that suffer from undue politicization and criminal plundering.
Over the years, this trend has further destroyed the environment of the Niger Delta instead of remediating it; this has further devalued the lives of Niger Deltans instead of uplifting it. Indeed, this must not be allowed to be the lot of HYPREP.
FONDEI pleads that instead of mounting pressure on the leadership of HYPREP to derail from the project’s objectives, stakeholders should support those driving this once-in-a-lifetime project for the ultimate good of the people of Ogoni, Niger Delta and Nigeria.