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Mixed Reactions Trail Ogoni Clean-Up As Kebetkache Organizes Conference

Reactions have continue to trail the delay of Ogoni Clean-up. This was the outcome of the stakeholders visual meeting organized by Kebetkache Women Development Resource Centre over the weekend in Port Harcourt.

Reactions have continue to trail the delay of Ogoni Clean-up. This was the outcome of the stakeholders visual meeting organized by Kebetkache Women Development Resource Centre over the weekend in Port Harcourt.

In her opening Speech, the Executive Director of the Non-Governmental Organization, Chief Emem Okon said the meeting was to review the process of the implementation of the UNEP Report in Ogoniland, while looking at the successes and challenges on what have been done so far.

In his Presentation on the overview of the implementation of the UNEP Report, Rev. Nnimrno Bassey stated that the Ogoni struggle was anchored on their demand in the Ogoni Bill of Right which talks about environmental degradation and lack of social facilities among others. He said over the years Shell Petroleum Development

Company and the Federal government were involved in ecological corruption which resulted into systematic neglect of the environment that fuel the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa, the environmentalist and Play Wright and others.

Comrade Bassey who is also the Executive Director of HOMEF, a Non-Governmental Organization, explained that pollution of Ogoniland have left the people in hardship since their livelihood have been totally destroyed. He maintained that though the clean-up is slow, there are some achievements recorded by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project [ HYPREP].

Explaining further. Comrade Bassey said HYPREP have trained some Ogoni Youths in remediation outside Nigeria, conducted medical outreach not audit, started remediation on 21 lots and the recent 35 lots where some youths are employed. "Money is not the cause of the delay as the oil companies have paid two trenches into the Ogoni Trust Fund."

In his contribution, Comrade Celestine Akpoobari, an Ogoni Activist stated that only few contractors are doing their work according to specification while lamenting that an Abuja contractor collected over 600 million for local communication but refused to do the work. He tasked HYPREP to speed up the process and provide portable drinking water while the remediation is ongoing.                                                             

One of the Panelists, a woman leader in Ogoniland, Mrs. Lezina Ntep-tep, who discussed the role of women on the clean-up, said Ogoni women are into peace building and sensitization against illegal bunkering by the youths to avoid re-pollution, having been trained by Kebetkache, while tasking HYPREP to provide the livelihood training especially now that Covid-19 has increased the poverty of the women in Ogoni.

In his submission, HRH Baridam Suanu, one of the Royal fathers who discussed community response/on the clean-up expressed shock that most of the contractors is not doing anything. He alleged that because the contractors are not working there is crisis brewing in some of the communities of the clean-up.

HRH Suanu who is also the Paramount Ruler of Bunubagha Community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State tasked HYPREP and contractors to do the needful especially the provision of emergency measures recommended by UNEP.

In his contribution, contribution, another panelist, Comrade Salaudeen Hashimu misrepresenting CORDAID Strategic Partners on Ogoni clean-up drew the attention of stakeholders to the danger of allowing HYPREP to be on the Federal Government gazette without proper legislation to back it up. He said it is important for HYPREP to have Key Performers indicator [KPI], where CSO's will monitor the progress and the work plan.

An Abuja based   contractor   who   absconded   with   over   600-million naira communication money.