By Ernest Chinwo, 9 August 2012. Source: All Africa.com
The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has said it accepts the Hydro-carbon Pollution Restoration Programme (HYPREP) for the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report for the clean-up of Ogoniland.
The Federal Government last Monday announced the setting up of HYPREP for the restoration of areas devastated by oil pollution in the Niger Delta.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt Wednesday, MOSOP however expressed dissatisfaction that it took the government one year to commence the implementation of the UNEP report despite the urgency of the situation.
The statement which was jointly signed by the Chairman of MOSOP Provisional Council, Professor Ben Naanen, and a member of the Council and Bishop of the Ogoni Diocese of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rev. Solomon Gberegbara, said the decision to accept HYPREP was taken at the congress of the Ogoni people held at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, to mark one year of the release of UNEP Report.
The congress however raised concerns that contrary to UNEP recommendation to set up an Ogoni Environment Restoration Agency that is specific to Ogoni, the Federal Government decided to set up a programme with wider scope to cover other areas experiencing hydrocarbon pollution. It expressed the hope that the broad jurisdiction of HYPREP would not undermine the implementation of the UNEP report.
It also said, “Considering the tradition of poor project implementation in Nigeria, the Ogoni people are deeply concerned HYPREP may join the graveyard of failed projects in the country.”
The statement however said the congress accepted HYPREP because of the realisation that most other parts of the Niger Delta region also suffered from oil-related pollution and the guarantee given to Ogoni people by the Federal Government on the implementation of the UNEP report.
The guarantees extracted from representatives of HYPREP and NOSDRA, according to the statement, include that: “The UNEP recommendations on Ogoni will be fully and faithfully implemented irrespective of HYPREP’s intervention in other areas;
“The one billion US dollars recommended by UNEP as start-up fund for Ogoni clean-up for the first five years must be spent on Ogoni alone;
“The Ogoni people will be given first priority in the business and job opportunities connected with the clean-up in the Ogoni area as a means of ameliorating the dire poverty and joblessness in the area;
“The UNEP report will be implemented in collaboration with an internationally recognised agency that will exercise oversight and quality assurance responsibility, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
“There will be an intensive public health programme in Ogoni, including cancer screening and treatment to be undertaken by competent international agencies;
“The Ogoni people will be regularly consulted on the activities of HYPREP, especially the clean-up in the Ogoni area.”