The Board of Trustee, BOT, of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, which is also the Ogoni Trust Fund, has expressed satisfaction with the level of work done in the ongoing Ogoni cleanup, noting that the remediation work has been conquered.
This was as the Project Coordinator of HYREP, Prof. Nenibarini Zabbey, disclosed that the project has received about $360,000,000, adding that the Coordination Office is yet to pay all of its contractors in the first phase of the work.
The BOT/OTF after a four-day tour of all the remediated projects sites and the reticulated water projects in the four local government areas of Ogoni, noted that the work done has the value for fund already released.
The Chairman of BOT/OTF Dr Mike Nwielaghi, and members of the board, HRH Bebe Okpabi, Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah, Chief Babajide Damazio and Mr. Adokiye Ikpoki, as part of their mandate visited completed water projects at Alesa Eleme, Bori Town, Kpean Community, Terabor, Gokana, Barako and Korokoro Tai. They had also visited remediated site at Alode, Kpean Gio/B-Dere among others.
Speaking at the end of the four days tour, Nwielaghi commended the serenity of the coordinating office, adding that it has taken the status of a project and has not deviated form the mandate before it.
Nwielaghi stated that HYPREP gazette mandates the BOT to release necessary funds, assess the projects regularly and report back, adding that the board ought to know what has been done with the money already given out to the Project Coordination Office.
He said: “It was the decision of board in line with the gazette of HYPREP that we do occasional tour to HYPREP project sites as to be able to acquaint ourselves with the fund we send to HYPREP, how it is being used, what projects are there for us to see and what more do they need.
“It has been a four-day intensive visit. We have gone to all the four LGAs. We have come and we have seen. In a way I can proudly say that we have conquered. As we speak, we have gone to remediated sites. Those sites that have been recovered we could see that grass and trees are growing. We will have to put a signal post on those sites to show that truly those areas have been remediated.
“Remediation work is an intangible activity. If you look at the fact that hundreds of dollars have been put underground, there could be no appreciation, because what we are seeing is the same grasses that are growing. I can say without fear of equivocation that there has been value for money spent on the remediation projects.”
Nwielaghi said the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, has certified all the remediated sites free of contamination, adding that the project was a huge success, warning against acts that can lead to re-pollution of remediated sites.
“A lot of water projects have been completed. These are reticulated water projects. The water goes around the communities. In Kpean, some people have started drinking water from the project. Barako is drinking, Terabor is also drinking. The PCO has come up with another 14 water projects meaning that the whole Ogoni has been covered.
“I can score what has taken place on the UNEP report within the region of 70% of work done. The problem is that publicity is poor. This project is not a farce. The project is not running out of fund as we speak. We have funds that could sustain us. We have come to see value for the money spent.”
Meanwhile, the Project Coordinator of HYREP, Prof. Nenibari Zabbey, said the project has received about $360mn from the board, adding that the project was going on successfully.
Zabbey said: “We did this because it is the responsibility of the BOT/Ogoni Trust Fund to Actually find out if we are spending the money, they are giving to the Project Coordination Office prudently. To also see if we have a built-in sustainability framework for all of our activities.
“We are happy to report to you that a lot of activities are going on in Ogoniland. The mandate of HYPREP is mainly to restore the Ogoni environment, both land and wetland contaminated. We are also mandated to restore the livelihoods of the people.
“The much I know is that the board of Trustees has released about $360,000,000. We have not exhausted that amount. We are still paying the contractors.”