From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Dr Marvin Dekil, Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, has declared that all is now set for oil spill affected communities in Ogoni, Rivers State to start receiving portable water as directed by the UNEP report.
Dr Dekil disclosed this in his address on the 2020 Ogoni Day celebration held in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state.
The HYPREP boss who commended the Ogonis on their resilience and commitment to a non-violent struggle, which he said has become a signpost around the world, stated that the water will only be provided to affected communities as contained in UNEP Report.
He disclosed that remediation work has fully commenced on affected sites in Ogoni with contractors working on 21 lots across the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland, Gokana, Eleme, Khana and Tai.
“We salute your resilience and commitment to a non-violent struggle that has become a signpost around the world. No wonder the Ogoni struggle has got the commendation of the United Nations and the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria back home.
“In my solidarity message to MOSOP to mark the 2019 Ogoni Day celebration, I promised that remediation contractors were to be mobilized to sites later that January and I am happy to announce to you that, that promise was kept and today remediation contractors are working on twenty-one lots across the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland.
“We have set in motion the procurement process for the provision of potable water for impacted communities as recommended in the UNEP Report. We have also taken a step further since the UNEP Report narrows the provision of potable water to only impacted communities by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development to rehabilitate moribund state water facilities in Ogoniland in an effort to expand access to potable water.”
Speaking on the theme for this year’s Ogoni Day celebration, ‘The Ogoni Renaissance: The Challenges and Prospects of Economic and Social Relativism’, the HYPREP boss said “here abounds numerous economic and social prospects for the Ogoni people in the areas of job opportunities, skill acquisition both from our livelihoods training programme and specialized remediation work in the field, decline in crime rate as a result of the youths being engaged meaningfully and a boost in self-worth among the youths.” He further disclosed that HYPREP is set to commence on the third phase of the free medical outreach for the people of Ogoni.
“We have reached an understanding with State Ministry of Health to use its facilities in the health impact study as recommended by UNEP. In the coming days, we shall launch our third medical mission to Ogoniland to provide health care for the people especially those who for lack of funds have lived with their health challenges for too long. The mission will cater to general health services and surgeries both minor and major.”
He added that while the medical outreach is ongoing their livelihoods training programme will be floated to empower women and youths to acquire new skills that will enhance their standard of living.
HYPREP however, solicited for the support of communities to enable them deliver on their mandate to them. “We will implore you to limit your expectation of us to only those deliverables that are contained in the UNEP Report. The tussle over land and chieftaincy stool has been a major cause of delay in the implementation of the UNEP report at many sites and this has to change for us to make speedy progress by way of unfettered access to all contaminated sites.
“Another area that we expect you to assist us to deliver on our mandate is the issue of re-pollution. Our effort to clean Ogoniland will amount to nothing if after investing so much resources and time to remediate the land it is again re-polluted by the activities of illegal bunkering and refining”.