- Urge state of emergency
The House of Representatives Committee on Environment Inhabitant has lamented slow action on the Ogoni clean-up and stressed the need for a state of emergency in the area for the exercise to be done urgently.
Chairman of the committee, Obinna Chidioka, said it was worrisome that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) is still talking rhetoric and showing pictures without concrete evidence on work done on the project.
Chidioka stated this when the House committee visited HYPREP Demonstration sites in Korokoro Tai, Ogoni, in Tai Local Council of the state.
The lawmaker, who stated that the issue of the clean-up would now be handled with all seriousness, called on the Federal Government to promptly release funds required to ensure that the project is actualised timely.
He also urged the government to make HYPREP an agency instead of a programme to help remove the bottleneck.
“We are desirous to see that Ogoniland is cleaned up, not just cleaned up but clean with a specific time-limit to enable everyone in Ogoni have normal life again,” he said.
Also, the member representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, Henry Nwawuba, regretted that the people have continued to suffer and yet there is no clear package about the clean-up exercise.
He said: “HYPREP is just going round organising workshops and taking pictures, while the environment is still left suffering, no more fish, periwinkle. We cannot continue to be suffering. Why is it that by this time, there is no clear package in the clean-up?
“HYPREP is talking too much rhetorics, nothing is being done, there is need for state of emergency in the area because things need to be done urgently and we are here to ensure that the Ogoni clean-up is done as soon as possible “
Another member representing Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency, Uzoma Abonta, said it is necessary to create a specific timeline for the project to be delivered, otherwise, HYPREP will keep singing and presenting pictures from year to year.
He, therefore, called for prompt and adequate funding of the project to enable it achieve the objective.
The Project Co-ordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Dekil Marvin, disclosed that the major challenge of the agency was its inability to access fund directly from the Federal Government, stating that it can only access funds through the Governing Council.
He said: “The process of the clean-up has been consistent. We are doing all within the law but we hope that a review on the law will help push the whole process faster.
“Emergency measures have been done like the provision of water, opening more demonstration project sites and carrying out health impact assessment, among others”
Marvin, therefore, called on the lawmakers to help deliver the overall objective of government towards cleaning the Ogoni area and ensuring restoration of the livelihood of the people.