Ogoni cleanup: HYPREP’s Dekil gives 2020 update
The project coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Marvin Dekil, has used the occasion of the 2020 Ogoni Day celebration to give an update on the work done in the clean-up of contaminated areas in Ogoniland in Rivers State.
Speaking at the event which held on Saturday, January 4, Dr Dekil, said: “In my solidarity message to Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni (MOSOP) to mark the 2019 Ogoni Day celebration, I promised that remediation contractors were to be mobilised to sites later that January and I am happy to announce to you that that promise was kept and today remediation contractors are working on 21 lots across the four local government areas of Ogoniland.
“In spite of the several communal and environmental factors that stood in our way, work has progressed appreciably.
“At most of the sites, contractors are excavating and treating contaminated soils and some have even completed the process of excavation and are back filling treated soils.
“On each of those lots there are no fewer than 24 community workers of Ogoni origin, who are now earning a living for themselves and their dependents, in addition to the multiplier effect of field activities on the local economy.
“All of that is just from the batch one phase one of the remediation process and soon we will progress to the complex sites where more work is required and that also means more employment opportunities for the Ogoni youths.”
The HYPREP project coordinator added that the procurement process for the provision of potable water for impacted communities as recommended in the UNEP Report, has been set in motion.
According to him, “We have also taken a step further since the UNEP Report narrows the provision of potable water to only impacted communities by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development to rehabilitate moribund state water facilities in Ogoniland in an effort to expand access to potable water.
“In like manner, we have also reached an understanding with State Ministry of Health to use its facilities in the health impact study as recommended by UNEP.
“In the coming days, we shall launch our third medical mission to Ogoniland to provide health care for the people especially those who for lack of funds have lived with their health challenges for too long. The mission will cater to general health services and surgeries both minor and major.”
According to the United Nations Environment Progamme (UNEP), the environmental restoration of Ogoniland in Nigeria could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves are to be brought back to full, productive health.
According to a UNEP assessment of Ogoniland, “some areas, which appear unaffected at the surface, are in reality severely contaminated underground and action to protect human health and reduce the risks to affected communities should occur without delay.”