Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has alleged a ploy to blackmail the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, to appoint a political party loyalist as the Project Manager/Secretary to the governing council of the HydroCarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), the implementation agency for the Ogoni cleanup.
The implementation of the clean-up exercise of the oil-devastated Ogoniland, kicked off by President Muhammadu Buhari last June, is yet to commence, even as it had become a subject of controversy among politicians in the Niger Delta region.
MOSOP, in a statement issued by its publicity secretary, Fegalo Nsuke, on Sunday, claimed that announcing the project manager for the programme was deliberately delayed in order to create apprehension among the populace who had been anxious to see the commencement of the exercise.
“The calculation of the master schemers is that the delay will mitigate any protest against the appointment of a party loyalist to manage the programme as the agitated Ogoni public will be compelled to accept whoever is eventually appointed for the position
“MOSOP wishes to unequivocally state that its position on the appointment of a project manager has not changed-that we will not accept party considerations in the choice of who becomes the project manager for HYPREP.
“We note that the progress made to ensure a clean and safe environment for the Ogoni people has cost us the lives of some of our very best men, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, Chief Edward Kobani, Edward Badey, Theophilus Orage, Chief S.N. Orage, Dr Barinem KKiobel, Rev. John Kpuinen and over 2000 others.
“We therefore insist that our input is cardinal in the appointment of a trusted, competent and non-partisan Project Manager/Secretary for the Governing Council of HYPREP”, the statement read.
The foremost Ogoni group however vowed that it would not compromise on the issue, noting that the appointment of a project manager for HYDREP which it said bothered on the integrity of whoever eventually would occupy the position.
“MOSOP stands firmly against the use of Ogoni cleanup funds to compensate party loyalists and urge all decision-makers in this process to live above board and be guided by the expectations of the Ogoni people for a clean environment achievable through an honest process.
“We therefore urge the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, to tread curiously and be guided by this collective position of the Ogoni people and not by the conservative wishes of party men and women,” the statement added.