The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, on Monday assured indigent Ogoni people of their full participation in the ongoing clean-up of oil impacted Ogoni communities in Rivers.
HYPREP, under the Federal Ministry of Environment, said that 95 per cent Ogonis were currently working in different capacities in the clean-up of 21 remediation sites in Ogoniland.
Dr Marvin Dekil, Project Coordinator of HYPREP, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ meeting with Ogoni Elected Representatives on the clean-up project.
He said HYPREP organised the meeting to bring stakeholders to current happenings in the clean-up exercise as well as assure them of the Federal Government’s commitment to Ogoni environment and its people.
“This commitment is there for all to see as 90 per cent of the workforce of HYPREP is made up of indigenous Ogonis even though it’s a national project.
“Also, the technical team of HYPREP is made up of 95 per cent indigent Ogonis which are achievements for the people.
“Similarly, we have about 320 Ogoni youths actively engaged on the sites as we speak, while 21 of them were sent to Geneva, Switzerland, to undergo further training on remediation,” he said.
Dekil said training of the 21 scientists abroad was part of the plans to develop international level capacity among indigent Ogoni scientists.
He said that in spite of efforts to engage people of the area, the clean-up agency had encountered challenges in carrying out its assignment.
The project coordinator said that security agencies had during the meeting identified youth restiveness and chieftaincy tussle as some of the common challenges encountered in the area.
“So, we are meeting with political leaders from the National and State Assemblies and Chairmen of the four Local Government Areas (LGAs) that makes up Ogoniland, including, Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai.
“We want them to understand that HYPREP is actively working in all four LGAs at different speed in the 21 sites as well as seek their support in our engagement processes.
“We believe that the political leadership will be the best people to help us manage such challenges,” he pleaded.
Dekil said that HYPREP had recently launched a broadcast show on radio to enable Ogonis to make contributions as well as criticise happenings in the clean-up exercise.
According to him, the clean-up agency was highly committed to maintaining project standard as mandated by the United Nations, the International Oil Companies and the Federal Government.