How Covid-19 slowed down Ogoni remediation project – Minister
The Federal Government has blamed the coronavirus pandemic in the first and second quarters of 2020, for delay in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP remediation project.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, disclosed while briefing the press on the status of the project.
Highlighting the achievements recorded in the Ogoniland cleanup, Abubakar said in remediation of 21 Lots – Phase 1 Batch 1 Works, about 17 Lots have been completed by HYPREP, out of which ten have been closed out by National Oil Spill Detection Agency, NOSDRA.
According to him, certification sampling of three Lots for close-out has been completed, while the other three are awaiting certification sampling for close-out by NOSDRA. The remaining five which are yet to be completed by HYPREP are at various stages of completion.
In the Contract for 36 Lots – Phase 1 Batch 2 works, the minister explained that 36 remediation contracts comprise of two project activities namely, soil remediation works (29 lots) and Tier 2 (T-2) Assessment of groundwater works (7 lots) were awarded in February 2020.
He said as of Tuesday, about nine (9) remediation lots have been completed and are awaiting NOSDRA certification, and Seven (7) other contracts for detail quantitative environmental risk assessment to determine groundwater conditions in some selected sites were completed.
Also, in the area of provision of potable water to Ogoni communities, the minister explained that on 22nd March 2021, he officially flagged off the construction of the six water schemes at Bori in Khana Local Government Area of Ogoniland.
He equally said in the area of employment, about 882 community youths have been engaged by Batch 1 remediation contractors, while additional 1118 community youths are being engaged by Batch 2 remediation contractors.
“Therefore, as of today, a total of 2000 temporal jobs were created in the course of remediation across the four LGAs of Ogoniland besides the numerous indirect jobs that are to be created in the form of trading and support activities,” he said.
Speaking on the Mangrove restoration, Abubakar said, “Our strategy for restoration and management of degraded mangrove vegetation involves planning, decision-making and implementation of the restoration program based on shoreline assessment technique, SCAT, outcome, which will provide information and data on the extent and depth of contamination along with guidance on the most suitable technique for clean-up of the impacted shoreline to ensure that environmental harm is minimized. The selected technique will ensure environmental benefits for both flora and fauna will be achieved.