Opinion leaders and elders of the Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivees, under the auspices of Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, have called on the federal government to comprehensively overhaul and restructure the Hydrocarbon Remediation Project (HYPREP) in order to get the clean up of the Ogoni environment on track.
Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Chairman of Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, Senator Bennett Birabi, also called on the federal government to put and end to the current sophistry epitomized by the alleged failed clean up efforts in Ogoni land.
Birabi declared that though as Ogonis, the elders and opinion leaders were commitment to support any genuine clean up process to succeed, but that can only happen when the right thing is done.
He said: “Unfortunately, rather than address these issues which we have raised repeatedly, and which other reputable organizations have corroborated, HYPREP has invested much of the time and resources at it disposal in radio and social media propaganda.
“Ogoni people need their land remediated, not the unending ‘radio remediation’. As elders, we will not compromise the health of our people, and the non-implementation of these emergency measures amounts to deliberately undermining the health and well-being of Ogoni people, and indeed all residents of Ogoniland.
“Once again, we restate our commitment to support any genuine clean up process to succeed; but that can only happen when the right thing is done. The reason for our numerous interventions is to help the process succeed. As elders and leaders, we will continue to make available, our vast experience and the range of our vision, for the project to succeed.
“We note with cautious optimism, the recent comments by Honourable Minister of Environment to review the performance challenges in HYPREP. The issues we have raised consistently are fundamental, and we hope that the Honourable Minister of Environment will take steps to address them.
“As a people, what we need is the clean up of our environment, and not the unending propaganda and rhetoric by HYPREP. Our prayer is simple. The federal government should, as a matter of national urgency, put an end to the current sophistry epitomised by the failed clean up efforts in Ogoniland.
“To this end, we call for the comprehensive overhaul, re-jigging and restructuring of the project across all levels of the current nested structure. This is the first step to getting the clean up on track.”
The group accused HYPREP of spending so much time and resources at it’s disposal in radio and social media propaganda when there is little or nothing on ground to show for it.
Birabi said: “The nested failure of HYPREP as itemized by both the UNEP and Amnesty International et al corroborates our position on HYPREP. We have always made our positions known that the recommendations of the UNEP Report should be implemented transparently, and we will continue to do so.
“The opacity of HYPREP’s activities, and the histrionics of its inefficiencies,is at complete variance with the recommendations of the UNEP Report as well as global best practices.
“Unfortunately, rather than address these issues which we have raised repeatedly, and which other reputable organizations have corroborated, HYPREP has invested much of the time and resources at it disposal in radio and social media propaganda.”